BTO Winter Thrushes Survey
An introduction to the Winter Thrushes Survey
What we know already
- from Garden BirdWatch and the Garden Bird Feeding Survey, we can see when and where birds are coming into gardens and feeding on artificial foods, and the history of this behaviour since the 1970s
- from Atlas 2007–11 and the Winter Atlas of 1981/82 to 1983/84, we know their cumulative winter distributions across two periods of years and how variable distributions can be at 10-km scale from winter to winter
- from BirdTrack we can see the arrival and departure patterns for the more migratory species
- from the monitoring surveys reported in BirdTrends we know population and demographic trends of the four thrush species that commonly breed
Gaps in our knowledge
There are several important gaps that the Winter Thrushes Survey can address:
- How does thrushes' use of habitats (including gardens) vary, by species, geographically and through the winter?
- How do feeding behaviours vary, again by species, geographically and through the winter?
- What is the relative importance overall of key habitats such as farmland, gardens and orchards and of the various feeding resources?
- In what ways do thrush numbers, distribution and feeding behaviour differ between successive winters?
The more information we can gather on these topics, the better we will be able to promote the conservation of these birds.
This will be an online-only survey operating through the BTO website. Observers will be invited to set up routes, based loosely on 1-km squares, for repeated winter walks. Locations of all thrushes observed, with their habitat and activity will be recordable online on a map of the survey route. Walks can be made at any time from mid September to mid April.
A randomly selected set of squares will be set up for synchronised coverage in midwinter. This element of the survey will be organised through the BTO's Regional Network. If you would like to be involved in this part of the survey, please contact your Regional Rep to offer your help.