Wrens are winning in Northumberland

No.:  2014-69
December 2014

Harsh winters with prolonged spells of cold weather hit small birds hard as they struggle to survive the testing conditions. Thanks to last year’s relatively mild winter, Wrens have had a bumper breeding season in Northumberland. What will the oncoming winter bring and how will our garden Wrens fair? The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) Garden BirdWatch needs your help to keep track of things.

Wren by Jill Pakenham/BTO

Small bird populations are severely affected by cold-snaps over winter and it is not uncommon for garden birdwatchers to notice ‘their’ garden birds steadily disappearing as winter progresses. Wrens, in particular, struggle to cope with a lack of food and low temperatures during bitter winters, causing a sharp drop-off in numbers by spring.

However, the winter of 2013/14 was mild and this has been reflected in Wren numbers in Northumberland. Garden BirdWatch results show that this year there have been higher numbers of Wrens in Northumberland gardens than in the previous year, with 55.4% more gardens seeing Wrens in 2014 than in 2013.

So what’s the picture going to be this winter? Alex Rhodes at the BTO says, “Thanks to the fantastic effort of members of the public contributing weekly observations from their gardens to the Garden BirdWatch scheme, we can keep an eye on what’s happening and look further into patterns that need exploring. If you enjoy watching birds in your garden, you too can add to this vital information.”
  
For a free BTO Garden BirdWatch information pack, which includes a copy of our quarterly magazine, please contact gbw [at] bto.org, telephone 01842 750050, or write to Garden BirdWatch, BTO, The Nunnery, Thetford, Norfolk, IP24 2PU.

Notes for Editors

  1. 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 14,500 people take part in the project. The project is funded by participants’ contributions and is the largest year-round survey of garden birds in the world. For more information see www.bto.org/gbw.
     
  2. The BTO is the UK's leading bird research charity. A growing membership and up to 60,000 volunteer birdwatchers contribute to the BTO's surveys, collecting information that underpins conservation action in the UK. The BTO maintains a staff of 100 at its offices in Thetford, Stirling, Bangor (Wales) and Bangor (Northern Ireland), who analyse and publicise the results of surveys and projects. The BTO's work is funded by BTO supporters, government, trusts, industry and conservation organisations. www.bto.org

Contact Details

Alex Rhodes
(BTO)

Office: 01842 750050
(9am to 5.30pm)
Email: alex.rhodes [at] bto.org

Clare Simm
(BTO Garden BirdWatch Development Officer)

Office: 01842 750050
(9am to 5.30pm)
Email: clare.simm [at] bto.org

Images are available for use alongside this News Release.
Please contact images [at] bto.org quoting reference 2014-69

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