Data Entry Frequently Asked Questions

Section 1. Accessing the data entry page
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Section 2. Personal information
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Section 3. Before you start entering data
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Section 4. Error messages
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Section 5. Entering data
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  • I have entered data, but when I returned to the page, it was not there anymore. What happened?

    You must remember to save your data before leaving a page. This could be done by clicking the Submit or the Save button, or by using any of the links provided on the page itself (such as Next page, Previous page, etc.). Going to an external link saved as a favorite or a bookmark, or that you type yourself in the address bar, or clicking the BACK button on your browser will NOT save your newest data.

  • What is the Reset button and what does it do? I click on it and nothing seems to happen.

    The reset button will only cancel changes you have made to the data since the last time you saved that page. If any data was already there when the page loaded, it will simply go back to its original value at that time. Once your data have been submitted, you cannot retrieve a previous version of it.

  • I cannot find a species that I have observed on the list that is displayed. Where is it?

    Be aware that some names have changed and that we are using the most recent nomenclature from the American Ornithologist Union (e.g., Wilson's Snipe and not Common Snipe). You can control what species list is displayed on the form using at least 3 different methods: 1) to match the paper form, 2) to display only the species found in an Atlas region (based on the first atlas and modified by the regional coordinator), or 3) to display only the species for which you have provided data. The latter choice is especially useful when you are ready to review your data. If you still can't find your species, contact us (

  • I accidentally entered data under the wrong square number, but I cannot change the number on the form! Do I have to start all over again?

    There is currently no mechanism that allow you to move data among squares, so be careful to select the right square number before you start. For data security reasons, only the administrators can change the square number of a data form, but this will affect all of the data in it and should only be used as a last resort. If you accidentally entered a few lines of data in the wrong square, it will be easier to start again. If you realized late in the season that you had been using the wrong square number all along, contact us we will try to help you (

  • When I use Internet Explorer, there is a long delay when I try to move among the fields within the form.

    This problem has been reported by users who has been using version 5.5 of Internet Explorer. Apparently, this is a problem related to the "auto-complete" feature of Explorer which, when activated, tries to fill in boxes for you on the data form. This feature must be deactivated (it will not work on the data entry site anyway). To do this, go under the tools menu and select "Internet options...". Under the "advanced features" tab, scroll down, and make sure that Use Inline AutoComplete is not selected.

  • I can now see online the data that I have submitted on paper, but there are some errors. How can I correct them?

    Some errors may have happened during the data processing. You will have a chance to correct many of these yourself after the data has been transfered to the online data entry site. If you find a wrong breeding evidence code, a wrong number of birds on point counts or a wrong visit date for example, you may correct these. Please ensure that you only make corrections that are required!

    There are however a few types of errors that we will have to fix for you. One such error is when the data has been assigned to a wrong square. If you submitted data for a square and don't see it listed in your list of squares, look for another square that look similar (e.g., 17NP03 instead of 17NR03). Please do not try to create a new form yourself and contact us instead, we will do the correction for you. If you can't find your data at all, please see the next question.

  • I have submitted data on paper forms, but I don't see it online. What happened?

    First, please ensure that you are looking at the right square and year. Because a new breeding evidence form is create for each year, you must select the year before accessing the data. When data from paper forms were added online, we also updated your list of squares, and you should see all squares for which you provided data appearing in the drop-down list on the main page. If you don't see a square, or if you see a square for which you never provided data, there may be a few possible explanations.

    • During the scanning process, your data may have been assigned to a different atlasser to a different square if the number was read incorrectly or was mistyped on the data form.
    • Some types of data require that we determine the square number from coordinates, which is more prone to entry or processing errors than a square number. Please ensure that you provide a square number whenever possible.
    • Your regional coordinator may not have submitted your forms to the atlas office yet. It will normally take up to a few months before the data is scanned and added to the database.

    If you have any problem, please contact us and we will assist you.

  • There are now several entries for the same person(s) in my list of assistants. How can I fix this?

    This probably happened during the import of scanned data forms. If you entered several forms using different spelling (e.g., Jane Smith and J. Smith), or used the atlasser number on one form and the name on the other form, you may end up having that person listed multiple times.

    To correct this, go to your list of assistants and remove the duplicate entries, leaving only one per person. Make sure to include that person's atlasser number if you know it. Doing this will not remove the duplicate names from the data forms and you must now go to the appropriate Breeding Evidence or Rare/Colonial Bird Forms forms to correct them.

    On the form, uncheck the duplicates that you want to remove and check the real names that you have defined in your list of assistant. After you save the form, the duplicate names will be removed if they do not appear in your list of assistants.

Section 6. Breeding Evidence Form
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Section 7. Point Count Form
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Section 8. Rare/Colonial Bird Form
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