Saturday, 11 January 2014

BTO Early Bird Survey (11/01/14)...

Finally got around to undertaking the BTO's Early Bird Survey this morning. It's a fairly simple but interesting survey if you are into a bit of bird science - more information HERE. There is still time to complete the survey tomorrow morning if you hadn't heard of it / not yet completed it.

I started my survey at 7.40 am, settling in with a cup of tea and some toast. It was a fairly frosty morning with clear skies with evidence of some light snow overnight. It was fairly dark for the first 20mins although I could see the feeders easily enough with the light from the two streetlights nearby (to be recorded in the survey).

Clear and frosty morning.
Just before 8.00am it was pretty light so I  was fully expecting one of the usual suspects to show up soon but would it be the Robin or the Blackbird first? A couple minutes later and a dark shape flew down from over the house into a nearby tree, this action of the morning. By 8.05am the female Blackbird was feeding in the garden shortly followed by a Robin at 8:07am. Both birds left after a couple minutes and it was fairly quiet until a couple Blackbirds returned followed by the first Chaffinch of the morning, a female feeding at 8.16am. The Chaffinch and Robin hung around feeding periodically with 5 Blackbirds now joining in until the 4th species to the garden arrived and begin feeding at 8.26am in the form of a Blue Tit. Three minutes later a Coal Tit started feeding at 8.29am and a full 10 minutes later a Great Tit arrived at 8.39am. At 8.45am the neighbour's cat showed up scattering the numbers that had been slowly building up and putting an end to the survey really. I waited around til just after 9 in the hope that something would return or to record a couple more species but it wasn't to be! So the results were as follows:

08:05 - Blackbird
08:07 - Robin
08:16 - Chaffinch
08:26 - Blue Tit
08:29 - Coal Tit
08:39 - Great Tit
08:45 - That bloody cat!

So what can I tell you from these results? Well not a lot really as I am not a scientist but hopefully my recording will contribute to studies on how light pollution is affecting the feeding habits of our most common garden birds around our cities and towns. I enjoyed doing the survey, and it was interesting that 3 ground feeding species showed up first, taking advantage of reduced predation due to low light levels and their bigger eyes? Birds are interesting...

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