Though noted as a summer migrant, Blackcaps that breed in central Europe are spending the winter with us in increasing numbers, benefitting from garden bird foods. What exactly are they eating, and is their aggressive reputation true?
On New Year’s Day 2013 the BTO launches its Garden Blackcap Survey, a behavioural study of Blackcaps in gardens. Participants will choose one day during January to make their observations, and can also choose the duration over which they record on that day. Those wishing to take part will log the number of Blackcaps seen, the sex of these birds (males having black caps and females brown caps) and the foods eaten.
In addition, participants will help the BTO to work out where Blackcaps sit in the pecking order of garden birds. Blackcaps have a reputation for being particularly bolshie, frequently shooing other birds away from feeders, but is this a fair assessment? Householders will record the outcomes of any aggressive interactions between Blackcaps and selection of other, similar-sized garden birds, including Blue Tit, Goldfinch, House Sparrow and Robin.
Each year, the Eastern Glamorgan Bird Report shows that Blackcaps are present in our region during each month of the year. Are they present in your garden during winter? Why not take part in this short survey, and help us learn more about this wintering warbler?