24 December 2014

Merry Christmas from the Demography Team

As we move closer to Christmas, many bird ringers will still be out collecting valuable data on our bird populations across a range of habitats, from gardens, woods and farms to salt marshes and estuaries. Winter ringing tells us a lot about the survival and movements of birds in response to weather and can also be used to assess the breeding success of birds that nest outside the UK, such as wildfowl and waders. We've received information about just over 763,000 ringed in Britain & Ireland during 2014, which is 55,000 more than this time last year, and expect many more records to arrive over the next few weeks.

Coal Tit - Lee Barber

This period of the year is a little quieter for nest recorders, although those out monitoring Barn Owl second broods will have only just laid their ladders down after an incredibly prolific season. With temperatures above average for the time of year, however, it's always a good idea to keep an eye out for signs of opportunistic nesting behaviour, particularly in gardens and around towns where the climate tends to be warmer and many homeowners are providing extra food. Data from this summer are still flooding into the Nest Record Scheme thanks to the amazing efforts of our volunteers, and we've received over 36,000 nest histories so far, over 2,000 more than at this stage last year. As with the results generated by ringers, this information will be used to improve our understanding of the role that survival and breeding success play in driving population trends.

BTO Blue Tits - Sue Lawrence

On behalf of the birds and the BTO, we would like to thank all our ringers and nest recorders for their support and hard work during the year, and all readers of this blog for your interest in, and support of, these vital surveys. If you're not yet involved and fancy making bird surveying one of your resolutions for 2015, why not have a look on our survey pages to find an option that suits you?

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from all of us at BTO HQ!

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