Wednesday, 13 January 2016

BTO's Garden BirdWatch - A great introduction to bird surveys

Starlings by Findlay Wilde
Starlings by Findlay Wilde
If, as a young birder, you have ever wondered about joining BTO, but are unsure of how to get involved, I would like to suggest a great way for you to start, and you don’t even need to leave your house to get involved.

There are so many interesting surveys you can get involved with through BTO, but a great introduction to BTO’s important survey work is the Garden BirdWatch (GBW). GBW is described on the BTO website as follows: “Garden BirdWatch monitors the changing fortunes of birds and other garden wildlife through its network of 'citizen scientists'. Observations collected by BTO Garden BirdWatchers are analysed by BTO researchers and published in leading journals. BTO Garden BirdWatchers have charted the decline of the House Sparrow, the rise of the Woodpigeon, have discovered that urban birds get up later than their rural counterparts and have alerted conservationists to the impact of an emerging disease in Greenfinches.”

House Sparrows by Findlay Wilde
House Sparrows by Findlay Wilde
All you need to do is survey your garden birds on a weekly basis and upload the data on to the BTO website.  You will be surprised how quickly you start noticing trends and patterns in the birds that visit your garden. You will soon see who is first to arrive in the morning, which birds prefer which foods and how the weather has a massive impact on your garden visitors.

The information you record all builds into a great record for you to look back on, whilst also contributing to a much bigger garden bird picture across the country.  You will help see how environmental changes are impacting common and rarer garden visitors.

Goldfinch by Findlay Wilde
Goldfinch by Findlay Wilde
But why just leave it at that? Why not use the information you have recorded as a good solid base for your own surveys. For example, I am currently using my Goldfinch GBW data to support a more detailed Goldfinch study in my garden, which you can read more about here. Ultimately I hope to work out how much energy a Goldfinch gains from it’s garden food intake.

So have a go, get involved and share your sightings and contribute to an important piece of science.

Findlay Wilde, @wildeaboutbirds

No comments:

Post a Comment