Lucky number 15 for Shropshire's garden birds

01 Jul 2010 | No. 2010-07-30

Thanks to a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Garden BirdWatch (GBW) Ambassadors have been appointed in 15 regions of the UK, culminating with Shropshire. The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) celebrated the appointment of the Ambassadors at a conference in Shrewsbury last weekend.

Shropshire Ambassadors with Tim Harrison

Garden BirdWatch enthusiasts gathered from around the county to attend theconference. John Arnfield, Cath Price and Trevor Blackshaw are the latest team to join the GBW Ambassadors. All three have an extensive knowledge of birds and of other wildlife and are keen to share their enthusiasm with others.

Gardens are a fascinating habitat in which to study birds, not least because our actions can have such a profound influence. For example, it is estimated that around 40–50% of UK householders feed birds in their gardens, constituting around 50–60 thousand tonnes of bird food each year!

Cath Price, who will cover northeast Shropshire, commented: “We are very lucky to have such a wide variety of different birds in Shropshire and it is essential that we monitor how they are doing. Through simple weekly records of birds in gardens Shropshire householders who participate in GBW provide a great way of doing this.

Trevor Blackshaw, who will cover northwest Shropshire, discussed his new role: “It is heartening to promote GBW, not least because the survey provides me with so much enjoyment. By taking on this role I will be in a position to hopefully encourage more people in Shropshire to take part in this vital survey.”

John Arnfield, who will cover south Shropshire, added: “GBW collects a vast amount of information about our garden birds throughout the year. This helps scientists monitor the ups and downs of all of the birds that visit our gardens. It gives me great pleasure to be able to raise the profile of GBW in Shropshire.”

Shropshire completes the Ambassador network that encompasses 15 regions across the UK. Tim Harrison, of the BTO, commented: “It’s terrific that the GBW Ambassador network is complete. With such a strong regional presence we hope that many people will start to record birds in their gardens through the Garden BirdWatch Survey.”

The Shropshire Ambassadors are available for talks and events and can contribute to local paper and web-based publications. For more information on how to contact the Ambassadors or on how to join BTO Garden BirdWatch please contact the GBW Team on 01842 750050, email; gbw [at] or write to GBW, The Nunnery, Thetford, Norfolk, IP24 2PU.

Notes for Editors

  1. The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant of £37,900 is being used to recruit, train and provide the equipment that will enable the Ambassadors to give talks and presentations across the country. There are fully trained BTO Garden BirdWatch ambassadors across the UK covering a total of 15 regions. The HLF enables communities to celebrate, look after and learn more about our diverse heritage. From our great museums and historic buildings to local parks and countryside or recording and celebrating traditions, customs and history, HLF grants open up our nation’s heritage for everyone to enjoy. They have supported more than 26,000 projects, allocating over £4billion across the UK.
  2. The BTO Garden BirdWatch is the only nationwide survey of garden birds to run weekly throughout the year, providing important information on how birds use gardens, and how this use changes over time. Currently, some 15,000 people take part in the project. The BTO Garden BirdWatch is funded by participants’ contributions, is the largest year round survey of garden birds anywhere in the world and costs £17.00 to join. For more information see
  3. The BTO is the UK’s leading bird research organisation. Over 30,000 birdwatchers contribute to the BTO’s surveys. They collect information that forms the basis of conservation action in the UK. The BTO maintains a staff of 100 at its offices in Norfolk and Stirling, who analyse and publicise the results of project work. The BTO’s investigations are funded by government, industry and conservation organisations.

Contact information

Tim Harrison (Garden BirdWatch Development Officer)
Office: 01842 750050 (9am to 5.30pm)
Email: gbw [at]

Paul Stancliffe (BTO Press Officer)
Office: 01842 750050 (9am to 5.30pm)
Mobile: 07845 900559 (anytime)
Email: press [at]

Images are available for use alongside this News Release
Please contact images [at] quoting reference 2010-07-30

The BTO has an ISDN line available for radio interviews
Please contact us to book an interview
Office: 01842 750050

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