Table of contents


  1. I can't remember my password; how do I access my account?
  2. What are 'first', 'last' and 'general' sightings?
  3. Why can't I see my entries on the main database?
  4. Why are my old sightings not listed on my 'Edit sightings page'?
  5. From what locations can I send information?
  6. How often do I need to go bird-watching to contribute data to MigrantWatch?
  7. When should I start looking for migrants?
  8. What is the migratory season?
  9. What if I am unsure of the identity of the bird I have sighted?
  10. Why do I need to answer the question "When did you start looking for this bird at this location" for first sighting date?
  11. How do I decide that a particular sighting is a last sighting of the season?
  12. What are Palaearctic migrants?
  13. How were the species on the MigrantWatch list selected?
  14. Who uses the data on the MigrantWatch database?
  15. I (or bird-watchers that I know of) do not have regular access to Internet; can participants send records by post?
  16. How do I find out about the latest happenings at MigrantWatch?
  17. I had an exciting sighting of a migrant; how do I share this with other participants?



  1. I can't remember my password; how do I access my account?

  2. Use the 'Reset Password' option on the login page. A new password will be sent to you by email. Once you log back into your account using that password please change it to a password of your choice.

  3. What are 'first', 'last' and 'general' sightings?

  4. First Sighting - The 'first sighting date' is the date on which you first saw a particular migrant at a location that you monitor regularly in a given winter season. The earlier you have started watching for migrants the more confident you can be that your first sighting date(s) reflect the arrival of the species. To make sure that you do not miss the first arrival date of the migrants start monitoring at the end of June; and it is best if you keep a look out for first sightings for these migrants until the beginning of December since different species arrive at different times at different locations.

    Last Sighting - The 'last sighting date' is the date on which you last saw a particular migrant at a location that you monitor regularly in a given migratory season. Since determining the last date/departure date of the migrants from a location can be a bit tricky, we recommend that you continue to keep regular records of the species that you are monitoring and enter the date beyond which the bird is no longer being sighted at your location. You can do this easily by keeping a record of all sightings of migrant species as 'general' sightings; then, at the end of the migration season, when you have not seen the species for several weeks, you can go back and change your last general sighting to the 'last' sighting.

    General Sighting - Any sighting, other than the 'first' and the 'last', of any of the migrants on the MigrantWatch list can be entered as a general sighting. These are great to understand the use of a location by migratory birds and keep a tab on the pattern of movement of passage migrants. Although these sightings may not contribute directly to studying the arrival or departure of the migrants they will contribute valuable information to information about the distribution of the species. Rare, exciting or unusual sightings should be entered with a note.

  5. Why can't I see my entries on the main database?

  6. Your entries should show up on your account immediately after you submit them. They will, however, only show up on the main MigrantWatch database after they have gone through a preliminary check, which might take a day or two.

  7. Why are my old sightings not listed on my 'Edit sightings page'?

  8. The default setting of the list on 'Edit Sightings page' is set to the current migration season; you must select the previous seasons in the box at the top left to view data from previous seasons/years. Write to us and let us know if you find that your entries are not being displayed at all.

  9. From what locations can I send information?

  10. Please contribute information from locations that are close to you and that you visit regularly (at least once a week or so). The more frequently you look for birds at a location, the more valuable the information. You can send data from more than one location and also from locations that you do not frequently visit.

  11. How often do I need to go bird-watching to contribute data to MigrantWatch?

  12. While daily observations are of most value, you can send information from observations made every other day or every week, or even first sightings from one-off visits.

  13. When should I start looking for migrants?

  14. To make sure that you do not miss the first arrival date of the migrants start monitoring at the end of June; and it is best if you keep a look out for first sightings for these migrants until the beginning of December since different species come at different time at different locations. For 'last sightings', please continue to keep regular records of the species that you are monitoring and enter the data beyond which the bird is no longer being sighted at your location.

  15. What is the migratory season?

  16. For simplicity the season is defined as 1 July - 30 June. Winter migrants to India generally start arriving early in July; a large number of the species seem to arrive in August-September and some trickle in as late as October or November. Summer migrants show a different pattern. For example, migratory Pied Cuckoos arrive in May/June depending on the location.

  17. What if I am unsure of the identity of the bird I have sighted?

  18. It is best *not* to enter data that you are not confident about. We can help you identify species if you can send us good photographs of the birds you need help identifying.

  19. Why do I need to answer the question "When did you start looking for this bird at this location" for first sighting date?

  20. The date you started monitoring your location for migrants is very important for analysis. The earlier you have started watching for migrants the more confident one can be that your first sighting date(s) reflect the arrival of the species. If you have been regularly monitoring a location (starting even before the start of the current migratory season) please enter the start date as 1 July of that year. This start date will then be stored in the database and you will not be required to enter it for that location in that season. In case you have started monitoring a location later in the season, just enter the date on which you made your first visit to the location.

  21. How do I decide that a particular sighting is a last sighting of the season?

  22. This is a difficult issue. We suggest that you record all sightings of migrant species as "general" sightings. Then, at the end of the migration season, when you have not seen the species for several weeks, you can go back and change your last general sighting to the "last" sighting.

  23. What are Palaearctic migrants?

  24. The Palaearctic region is broadly described to include Asia north of the Himalaya foothills, Europe, northern Africa, and the northern and central parts of the Arabian Peninsula. Some of the bird populations that breed in these areas come to winter in India. These migrants are inclusively called 'Palaearctic migrants'.

  25. How were the species on the MigrantWatch list selected?

  26. All Palaearctic migrants that have a substantial presence in India during winter were selected for the list. Some species that are only vagrants were excluded. Any comments (additions, suggestions) to the list are welcome.

  27. Who uses the data on the MigrantWatch database?

  28. MigrantWatch data is freely available to all participants to download and use. The MigrantWatch team at the National Centre of Biological Sciences periodically circulates summary reports to all participants. Participants are also encouraged to download and analyse the data and are requested to acknowledge MigrantWatch in any publication in which they use the data. Please also send a copy of any such publications to mw@migrantwatch.in.

  29. I (or bird-watchers that I know of) do not have regular access to Internet; can participants send records by post?

  30. Yes, it is possible for participants to send in data by post. Both the 'first sighting' and the 'last sighting' forms are available as PDFs on the website. A copy of the form can also be emailed or posted to you if you write to the MigrantWatch email or postal address. All participants who want to post their data are requested to photocopy the filled forms and send data using in the format requested; this will ensure that all the vital information needed is available.

  31. How do I find out about the latest happenings at MigrantWatch?

  32. Soon after you register for MigrantWatch you will be added to the MigrantWatch Google Group. If you are not receiving announcements from the MigrantWatch Google Group please write to the MigrantWatch email and request to be added to the group. Announcements, approximately one a month, are sent out via this Google group.

  33. I had an exciting sighting of a migrant; how do I share this with other participants?

  34. If you wish to share any exciting sightings or experiences with fellow MigrantWatch participants write a small (400-800 word) article and send this along with some images to mw@migranwatch.in. The write up will be put up on the MigrantWatch Blog. The Blog has been set up with the intention of carrying not only exciting observations on the migrants and citizen science but also well-researched thoughts and ideas. Please feel free to email us to explore any ideas that you may have for the Blog.


Design: Pavithra Sankaran. MigrantWatch is a project of the Citizen Science Programme of NCBS in association with Indian Birds Journal