Autumn Appeal 2012
It has been wet this summer!
The terrible rains this year really hampered our planned survey work. BTO volunteers battled with the elements to try and get some of the work done, but despite their valiant efforts some work may need to be repeated next year to get the coverage required. Many projects have been affected, such as Nightingales and Chats listed below.
We also need to fund core work which is threatened by the current economic climate. With cuts in funding, and a fall in house prices, trust and legacy funding are lower than anticipated.
A gift to this Autumn Appeal could help us discover answers to questions on:
Birds arrived late and bad weather affected birds and birdwatchers. Some areas of the country received poor coverage, while a delayed spring meant that a proportion of sites were likely surveyed too early. Parts of the survey will need to be repeated next year.
With Whinchats and Wheatears disappearing, we carried out a pilot of the chat survey in Wales this summer. Volunteer engagement was good and this produced some promising results, in spite of the poor weather. Results so far have revealed significant associations between chats and some key habitats, and a basis for estimating populations. More data will improve our ability to do this, especially for the scarcest species - Whinchat. We also want to build on the pilot and roll it out across the UK in 2013.
As you will have read in the Annual Review we urgently need to send a scientist back to Africa to retrap the Nightingales tagged with geolocators last year and retrieve the stored data to complete this BTO project. This has to be done this winter. Two volunteers and a member of staff from Ghana Wildlife Society will help to find the tagged birds and retrieve the device. It's been particularly difficult to raise all the funds needed for our African work in the current economic climate.
We are poised to start development on a list of features that birdwatchers have told us they want to see in BirdTrack. These features will transform this free tool, bringing it to new audiences and creating a community of BirdTrackers. We are ready to start work as soon as we find the money required for the first phase. We also need to bring BirdTrack to the iPhone.
Cost £50,000 for developments and £5000 for iPhone app.
We want to make the most of data collected by ringers, including a new study to understand why the timing and speed of moult appear to be changing in a range of species. We have the data but we need funds to enable the first phase of this work over 3 months.
More money for science
We have unrivalled data sets collected over decades, with more funds available we could let our scientists loose on these data, to potentially discover a wealth of new information that will underpin conservation for decades to come. For example, wouldn't it be great to be able to look at the data for this spring and summer and find out how species were affected by the weather in greater detail?
Could you help?
An unrestricted gift to the BTO is the best way to support the full breadth of work that we do, and will help us ensure that this vital research continues.
Your donation at this time will be very much appreciated.