A creative collaboration, bringing together two of Britain’s wild bird charities and leading writers and artists, was launched on 16 January 2020. Titled ‘Red Sixty Seven’, the project seeks to raise awareness of our most at-risk birds and secure additional funds for British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) and RSPB scientists to carry out important research, work that should help to secure a future for these species.
The project takes its name from the UK Red List of Birds of Conservation Concern, which currently contains 67 species. An artwork has been produced for each species, together with a piece by some of the UK’s leading writers, including Ann Cleeves, Patrick Barkham, Mark Cocker and Adam Nicolson. The artworks, which include pieces by Chris Packham, Daily Mail political cartoonist Paul Thomas, Carry Akroyd and a host of other renowned wildlife artists, are being sold to raise funds. A book combing the artwork and texts will be published by BTO on 14 February 2020.
The project was the brainchild of Kit Jewitt, a birder and part-time conservationist from Northumberland who has made something of a name delivering engaging fundraising projects to support conservation work on birds, both as an individual and through the Probable Bird Society.
The idea was simple; a book featuring the 67 Red-listed birds, each illustrated by a different artist with a personal story from a diverse collection of writers. And every penny from sales donated directly to Red-listed species conservation projects run by BTO and RSPB. All that remained was the small task of persuading 134 people to contribute, and to give their work for free. Red Sixty Seven is the result; 67 love letters to our most vulnerable species, each beautifully illustrated by some of the best wildlife artists around, showcasing a range of styles as varied as the birds in these pages. Our hope is that the book will bring the Red List to a wider audience whilst raising funds for the charities working to help the birds most at need.
The 67 artworks are being sold as part of the project through 67 ‘lucky dip’ tickets. By purchasing one of the 67 tickets you are guaranteed to receive one of the original artworks and limited edition prints, but you will not know which one until the tickets and artworks are drawn from a hat on Friday 14th February 2020.
A book of all the artwork and accompanying texts is also available, along with T-shirts and badges.More Details
Valentine’s Day will see the start of National Nest Box Week 2018, encouraging people across the UK to put up a nest box and provide a safe space for some of our hole-nesting birds. For more information on the different types of nest box, how to make them and where to put them, check out the BTO’s new guide to nest boxes, due out in March.
This year’s Cuckoos are starting the long journey back to the UK, and we see some of them moving north from their winter locations in Africa. PJ has moved 761km (473 miles) north from his mid-winter location in Angola. Selborne, Peckham, Victor and Larry have all turned north too. Follow them as they make their way back.
It’s a new year, a new start and a great time to appreciate the birds on our doorsteps. We have some planting ideas to help you create a bird friendly garden, and information on which supplementary foods to use to attract different species. RSPB host their annual Big Garden Watch event 27 – 29 January and if you are taking part in this, you might also enjoy the BTO’s Garden BirdWatch Survey, monitoring garden birds and other wildlife throughout the year.
The 2017 BirdTrends report has just been published and highlights the rapid and continuing decline of our Greenfinch population, which has declined by 59% in just ten years. Our annual BirdTrends report is a one-stop shop for information about the population status of the common breeding birds of the wider UK countryside. The data covered in the report were gathered by thousands of volunteer ‘citizen scientists’ looking out for birds in every habitat – from the streets of Cambridge to the slopes of the Cairngorms.
Last year researchers from the BTO, Oxford University, and Exeter University began teaming up with bird ringers and garden owners across Britain and Ireland to study the Blackcaps that visit our gardens in winter. Last winter 36 Blackcaps were fitted with geolocators, miniature devices that track movements throughout the year; however, the birds must be recaptured in order to retrieve the device and data, which can be a challenge. We now have an exciting new update to report - find out the latest on the Demog Blog.
Issue 6 of LifeCycle is now online. This edition features articles on whoosh netting in your garden, spring trapping Red Kites and developing a nestbox project for Willow Tits. There is also a review of a new sexing and ageing guide for ducks, a tester’s view of Demography Online as well as details of how to get involved in a new research project on Blackcaps.
The Jubilee and Tucker Medals were awarded at the BTO’s annual conference 2017. Dr Bob Harris was the recipient of the Jubilee Medal in recognition of over forty years devotion to the Trust, whilst Dr Ken Smith was awarded the Tucker Medal for his outstanding contribution to the work of BTO since 1974. Read more about both here.
Coal Tits are seen in more gardens during the winter, and are generally recorded by at least 40% of Garden BirdWatchers in November, when they are driven to garden bird feeders by cold weather. This year is turning out to be exceptional, with Coal Tits seen in an unprecedented 70% of gardens in November! In some years they are seen in many more gardens, and research using GBW data has shown that their presence is affected by seasonal availability of tree seed crops in the wider countryside.
We know from our research that the food and water provided in gardens can be a lifeline, particularly at times of cold weather and reduced natural food. With all this activity and more cold weather forecast, it is a great time to start paying more attention to the bird life in your garden,... read more
Just published, the latest State of the UK's Birds Report highlights how our birds are doing. Some of our summer migrants are arriving earlier, the distributions of others are moving north and some are just beginning to colonise. The report is only possible due to the efforts of volunteers who take part in BTO surveys.
The recent indicators reveal continuing recent declines in farmland birds, seabirds and wintering waterbirds. Breeding birds of woodlands, wetlands and waterways have been relatively stable in the past five years, following earlier declines in some groups. Based almost entirely on data collected by volunteers contributing to national bird monitoring schemes, such as the BTO/JNCC/RSPB Breeding Bird Survey and the BTO/RSPB/JNCC Wetland Bird Survey, these indicators are calculated annually for Defra by BTO and RSPB.
As an insurance broker Evergreen earns commission from insurers for placing business with them, so from home to pet, car to travel, arrange your insurance with Evergreen and they will give up to 25% of their commission to BTO.
Dave Gardiner, Founder of Evergreen Insurance Services says:
“With a passion for the natural world and a desire to help charities with their vital work, I have set up Evergreen to do just this. People need insurance, whether it is for their home, car, life, holiday, their pets or business – why not try a company that has an ethical ethos and mission to give something back? I hope that like-minded people will try Evergreen for all their insurance needs. I promise that for every £1 in commission I earn, I will donate back 10% in Year 1, 15% in... read more
The Dilys Breese Medal was awarded to Mary Colwell for her work over the years in ensuring BTO science is heard by a wide audience, via her work at Radio 4 as a Producer on natural history series such as Saving Species and Shared Planet. More recently Mary has raised the profile of the plight of the Curlew in Britain, undertaking a walk from the west coast of Ireland to the East coast of England, raising money for the BTO Curlew Appeal and highlighting the scientific contribution BTO has made.
Bardsey Bird Observatory received the Marsh Award for Local Ornithology for the work they have undertaken to digitise all of their observations, mostly from handwritten paper logbooks, and upload this into BirdTrack and making them accessible to all, and for their encouragement of young... read more
The results of the Garden Bird Feeding Survey (GBFS) 2016-17 are now available! Mild weather conditions meant a quiet winter on the feeders, until a cold snap in late January, early February saw more birds flocking into gardens, including high numbers of Goldcrest. In total 236,126 birds were seen using garden food sources, by the 241 garden birdwatchers taking part. Our unofficial national bird the Robin pipped the Blue Tits and Blackbirds to the post as the most recorded species, being seen in 100% of gardens. A suburban garden in Newcastle-upon-Tyne was the most species rich, with 40 species recorded over the winter.
GBFS is the smaller, sister survey to Garden BirdWatch, running since 1970. It specifically charts the use of food... read more
National waterbird monitoring in the UK began 70 years ago with National Wildfowl Counts in 1947. In the 2017/18 recording year, WeBS is celebrating that long tradition of counting waterbirds which continues today with the thousands of WeBS counters who contribute waterbird counts to the scheme each month.
The WeBS team, partners and conference attendees at Martin Mere Wetland Centre, Lancashire on 30th September 2017 celebrated WeBS and what we have learned from it and predecessor schemes about our waterbirds over the decades.
See the latest issue of the WeBS Newsletter for an overview of the day.
A weekly lottery with a difference! In our new Unity lottery, for every £1 you play, 50p will go straight to our work so the more people that play, the more money we receive. The draw takes place each Saturday and each entry costs just £1 per week. Each time you have the chance to win a £25,000 jackpot, plus other fantastic cash prizes, and at the same time, you're helping to raise funds for our work looking out for birds.
We're excited about exhibiting at the New Scientist Live event in London for the first time. Voted Show of the year in 2016, New Scientist Live is an exciting festival of ideas taking place at ExCeL London from Thursday 28 September until Sunday 1 October. The event boasts hundreds of exibitors featuring the biggest, best and most provocative science with five immersive zones covering Humans, Engineering, Technology, Earth and Cosmos. If you visit the event, look out for us on stand 548.
Mandarin and Wood Duck are stunningly beautiful birds which are commonly encountered and can be tricky to identify. Mandarins are frequently seen in the UK and breed in the wild, with a well-established population. Wood Duck, commonly kept in collections, can also be found. We've just published the latest in our growing collection of bird identification videos to help with the task of identifying and separating Wood Duck and Mandarin.
The latest ringing and Nest Recording figures are out and show that during 2016 over one million birds were ringed. While Blue Tit was the most ringed species, Goldfinch made number two with 55,754 individuals ringed. Seventeen new longevity records were set, 46,272 nest records were received, and Tree Sparrow was in the top five species for nest record monitoring. Take a look at the report online here.
Scottish Birdwatchers' Conference
Every year the Scottish Ornithologist's Club arrange a one-day Scottish Birdwatchers’ Conference, organised by a local branch of the SOC, in conjunction with BTO Scotland.
BTO research harnesses citizen science to make breakthroughs in bat monitoring
Bat monitoring has traditionally been challenging, because most species are nocturnal, wide-ranging and difficult to identify. Whilst the National Bat Monitoring Programme run by the Bat Conservation Trust (BCT)...