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Since the 1940s, the recording of seabirds from ships has been encouraged by the Royal Navy and the Society’s role has been the collation, moderation, analysis and management of those records, along with those submitted from merchant ships and individuals.  With over 70 years of records on our database, and all available for researchers to access on-line, this is now an important resource.  By their nature, warships frequently pass through waters away from normal shipping routes and this geographical spread makes the dataset distinctive.  The unusually long timeline also makes the database valuable to those examining evidence of climate change.   The Society still seeks and receives records from ships but it is disappointing how in the past few years the pressure of operational activities prevents most warships from submitting any.

As well as the continuous work to manage the records database, the Society also supports scientific research by making grants to individuals and organisations.  In recent years these have included studies on Albatross feeding patterns in the South Atlantic, the tagging and tracking of Balearic Shearwaters in the Mediterranean and a survey of White-billed Divers in Scotland.  The Society also enjoyed an extended relationship with Diego Garcia, conducting the first definitive survey of the birds of the Chagos Archipelago, and significant conservation activities.

If you would like access to the sightings database, please email your request to

Science: Who We Are
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