Posts tagged ‘breeding’

Your Holiday Records Needed

aea06d04-951c-4b77-9548-3ec7ab62723fFieldwork for the European Breeding Bird Atlas 2 concludes this summer.  EBBA2 will map the distribution and abundance of Europe’s 500+ breeding species across more than 50 countries. Huge progress has been made already, but your records are still needed to fill gaps in coverage.

Some of the countries where gaps exist, including Portugal, Greece and Turkey, are regular destinations for UK birders. Others, such as Albania, Armenia and European Russia, are further off the beaten track.

BirdTrack users can help by submitting records – with breeding evidence codes – from wherever they travel in Europe, using the global data entry tool or the new app.

Information on how, and where, birders can help is given on the EBBA2 website.

March 9, 2017 at 12:23 pm Leave a comment

Help needed for House Martins

The return of the familiar House Martin is one of the highlights of spring.  But will it be a familiar sight for future generations? In recent years, the numbers breeding in the UK have fallen by two-thirds, leading to the species being amber listed as a bird of conservation concern and in need of some help.

Although the decline hasn’t been quite as severe in Wales as it has been in England, we’ve also seen a substantial drop in numbers here too. The species was confirmed as breeding in only 98 tetrads in East Glamorgan between 2007-11, down from 173 tetrads between 1984-89 – that’s a drop of 43% (source: East Glamorgan Bird Atlas).

House Martin 2 (Doug Welch)

House Martin leaving an artificial nest (Photo: Doug Welch)

This recent decline prompted the BTO to launch a two- year research project which began in 2015, funded by BTO members and supporters through an appeal, to provide scientific evidence about House Martins to identify why they are in trouble, and hence start to look for solutions.

The survey in 2015: just how many House Martins are there in the UK?

In 2015, volunteers were asked to survey random i.e.  pre-selected 1-km squares throughout the UK in order to produce a robust population estimate to monitor future changes. The survey proved popular amongst birders in East Glamorgan with 25 counters volunteering to search for, and count House Martin nests, in 28 1-kms squares in our region.

The survey in 2016: when do House Martins start breeding and how many broods do they have?

This summer, a brand new, yet complementary, House Martin Survey will be carried out to investigate the timing of breeding and the number of broods raised, and how this varies across the UK. We hope that this information will help us discover why trends are positive in some parts of the UK, and that this will in turn help us pinpoint the reasons for problems elsewhere.

House Martin 1 (John Harding)

House Martins (Photo: John Harding)

This summer, you choose where you monitor House Martin nests

The BTO is looking for volunteers who are able to observe a nest (or a group of nests) for a few minutes, approximately once a week, throughout the breeding season (which can last from April to September). Volunteers do not need to be able to look inside the nests, as all observations can be made from ground level (or from another vantage point where the nests can be safely viewed without disturbing the birds). After recording a small amount of information about the site on their first visit, on each subsequent visit volunteers will simply need to record the condition of each nest and what activity is taking place at the nest.

Volunteers are free to pick their own study site, which can be anywhere where House Martins are nesting.  The survey is therefore ideal for those who have House Martins nesting on or near their home or place of work, but nests elsewhere can be studied provided they can be visited regularly for the whole breeding season.

The survey launches today (17th March), when volunteers will be able to register for the survey via the BTO House Martin Survey pages, and the first survey visits should be carried out in the first half of April. If you’re interested (and why wouldn’t you be!), further information about the survey is available on the BTO House Martin website.

March 17, 2016 at 10:26 am Leave a comment

BTO National Nest Box Week 2016

“For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne’s day
When every foul cometh ther to choose his mate.”

–Chaucer–

There was a popular belief in England and France during the Middle Ages that birds started to look for their mates on February 14, Valentine’s Day. The reason for this assumption is not clear but it might be related to the fact that the first songbirds, after a long winter, started to sing sometime in mid-February. One of the earliest written examples of this belief (above) was penned by the English poet, Geoffrey Chaucer (1340/45-1400), in his “Parliament of Fowls,” the literal meaning of which is “Meeting of Birds.”

Here in the 21st Century, with this avian connection to Valentine’s Day and the notional beginning of birds’ breeding season, it’s a great reason to celebrate February 14 as the start of the BTO’s National Nest Box Week (NNBW).

BTO pics 004

Why take part?

Natural nest sites for birds such as holes in trees or old buildings are disappearing fast as gardens are ‘tidied’ and old houses are repaired. Getting out your hammer and a few nails and taking part and erecting a nest box or two during NNBW gives you the chance to contribute to bird conservation whilst giving you the pleasure of observing any breeding birds that you attract to your nest box.

How to take part

If you visit the BTO’s National Nest Box Week webpage you’ll find all the information you need. You can register for your free NNBW information pack; find out how to make a nest box or (if like me you’re useless at DIY), where you can buy a ready-made box; how and where to put up your nest box and, if you like, how to safely monitor your nest box and provide the BTO with valuable information about the birds using it.

The satisfaction you feel when your nest box is used, when you see the parents busily feeding the chicks and when you finally see them fledge is great. Give it a go!

February 14, 2016 at 1:00 pm Leave a comment

Can you help ‘The Swallow of the Eaves’?

*** HOT OFF THE PRESS: NEW SQUARES NOW AVAILABLE. SEE BELOW***

The House Martin – known as Gwennol y Bondo (‘The Swallow of the Eaves’) in Welsh – is well known to many people. From April to September it lives cheek by jowl with those lucky enough to have this energetic little bird nest under their eaves. In recent years however, the numbers breeding in the UK have fallen by two-thirds, leading to the species being amber listed as a bird of conservation concern and in need of some help.

Although the decline hasn’t been quite as severe in Wales as it has been in England, we’ve also seen a substantial drop in numbers here too. The species was confirmed as breeding in only 98 tetrads in East Glamorgan between 2007-11, down from 173 tetrads between 1984-89 – that’s a drop of 43% (source: East Glamorgan Bird Atlas).

This recent decline has prompted the BTO to launch a House Martin Survey in 2015. It is a first step to help us discover more about this species, to identify why they are declining and to provide scientific evidence to help inform policy decisions that could reverse the declines.

House Martins (RSPB Images)

House Martins (RSPB Images)

How can I help?

We need volunteers who are willing to carry out two or three visits to a randomly selected (i.e. pre-selected) 1-km square between late May and mid-July, to look for House Martins and their nests. By surveying random squares, we will be able to assume that our results are representative across a wider area, and produce a robust population estimate against which changes in the future can be measured.

How long will each visit take?

The survey visits will involve walking around the square looking for House Martins and their nests and mapping and recording a few details about any nests that you find. In most squares each visit will normally take around one to two hours – however, the visit length depends on the habitats within the square: visits to urban squares may take longer, whereas visits to squares with only a small number of buildings may take less than half an hour.

What do I do next?

You can take part by registering on the BTO House Martin Survey.  You’ll then be able to find and request a vacant 1km square near you, as well as find out more information about the survey.

Alternatively, please contact me directly and let me know which one (or more) of the 1km squares listed above appeal to you. The green markers represent the squares currently un-allocated, the blue markers are those that have already been allocated to a volunteer. If your choice has not already been allocated to another volunteer by the time I hear from you, then that square will be all yours! If you need more information before you volunteer, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me for a ‘no obligation chat’.

Daniel Jenkins-Jones
e-mail: eastglamwebs@gmail.com
mobile: 07828 093 613

March 15, 2015 at 2:15 pm Leave a comment

Breeding Woodcocks in Glamorgan?

During winter, Woodcock may be the most numerous wader in Wales, but what is the extent of our breeding population?  The breeding distribution covers much of Britain, though a considerable reduction in range has been indicated, and it is now amber listed as a bird of conservation concern.

Woodcock is our only wading bird adapted to breed in woodland, both broad-leaved and coniferous.  Nocturnal habits and a cryptic nature make it difficult to monitor the breeding population using traditional surveys. A special survey method therefore, has been devised which uses counts of territorial roding flights, undertaken by males at dusk and dawn, to estimate the number of individual males present.

The first breeding Woodcock Survey, undertaken in 2003, estimated a breeding population of 78,000 males in Britain, providing a baseline against which to assess future population change. The results of the 2013 Woodcock Survey will be crucial in determining the extent of changes to the breeding population size and distribution.

In our region we have been allocated two 1km survey squares, but there is scope for us to cover additional ones. Please get in touch if you’d like to get involved. You may discover some Nightjars during your visits too.

Wayne Morris
email: eastglambto@gmail.com
tel: 01443 430284

April 4, 2013 at 11:02 am Leave a comment

Woodland Birds at Risk

Two of the UKs small woodland breeding birds have been added to the ‘at risk’ category by the Rare Birds Breeding Panel. The species will now be monitored closely to establish the causes for their declines.

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos minor by Maris Pukitis, on Flickr

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos minor by Maris Pukitis, on Flickr

Both Lesser Spotted Woodpecker and Willow Tit are scarce breeding birds in our region.

Recent Atlas survey work has reported just 8 records from 6 tetrads for Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, a bird formerly of parks, woodlands and orchards.  Willow Tits, a bird of damp wooded areas, are now confined primarily to the Cynon Valley and a few other locals, with just and 27 records from 15 tetrads.

September 7, 2011 at 3:13 pm Leave a comment

Atlas Late Breeding Evidence

Yellowhammer | Овсянка by Anatoly Kraynikov, on Flickr

Yellowhammer | Овсянка by Anatoly Kraynikov, on Flickr

With Atlas fieldwork for the timed counts (TTVs) now complete, efforts can now focus on looking for confirmed breeding evidence over the remainder of the season.

Late nesting species like Yellowhammer, Spotted Flycatcher, Bullfinch and House Martin are still breeding so look out for adults carrying food for young, occupied nests or recently fledged young.

Other species such as House Sparrow may be having their second or third broods.

You can help the Atlas process by:

  • submitting your paper forms to BTO via Wayne Morris by 31 August
  • submitting all your data online by 31 December
  • responding to any queries raised through validation by 31 January

Thanks to everyone for supporting the Atlas in East Glamorgan!

August 13, 2011 at 9:08 am Leave a comment

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