Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Getting into Surveys

A couple of weeks ago I was contacted by the BTO (British Trust for Ornithology) asking if I wanted to join a Breeding Bird Survey course in Devon. I have been wanting to get involved in survey work for a while now and this seemed the perfect chance to learn before getting involved for real. I signed up paid my course fee and on May 10th I do the course at Darts Farm.

BTO Logo link to website
The Breeding Bird Survey is, in the BTOs words "The BTO/JNCC/RSPB Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) is the main scheme for monitoring the population changes of the UK’s common breeding birds. It is a national volunteer project aimed at keeping track of changes in the breeding populations of widespread bird species in the UK. Wild bird populations are an important indicator of the health of the countryside, and knowing to what extent bird populations are increasing or decreasing is fundamental to bird conservation."

This, to me at least, seems like a way of combining my regular birding activities and genuine citizen science to allow me to contribute to something that gives me so much pleasure in my spare time. My 5/10 year career & life plans also require me to have survey experience which also gives the whole exercise a personal development edge as well.

As a man who is, lets be honest, has a tendency to be a little obsessive, I didn't stop there! Dawn Balmer of the BTO added to Twitter that they were looking for volunteers to take on 1km transects in order to survey House Martin colonies. I enquired, was given the local representatives details and requested my square! I am ecstatic to announce that this morning I was given my requested square and can now start the planning stage for my visits.

House Martins on the nest - taken from www.bto.org
"Critically, we do not know why this species is in rapid decline in the UK. Currently, it is ‘Amber listed’ in the Birds of Conservation Concern listings, compiled by the UK’s leading conservation agencies." - Taken from the BTO website

I am so excited to get my teeth into some survey work, and help out with some tangible citizen science. Join in if you can, every little helps and the more we know the better we can protect our enigmatic avifauna!


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