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Birds on the move?

Migration Atlas, reporting migration arrivals and building birds a home?

Migration Atlas

The British Trust for Ornithology`s newly published Migration Atlas reveals how important these islands are for millions of birds. Birds from these shores make monumental journeys each year ? to places as far away as Australia, South America, Greenland and South Africa. Readers can test their bird knowledge with this special Migration Atlas quiz.Test your bird knowledge
You may think that you know a bit about bird migration but here is a BTO quiz to test the million or more birdwatchers throughout the UK. All you need to do is to match species with countries. Where is a bird of each species most likely to go to after it has been ringed in Britain or Ireland? Each country is used just once:Arctic Tern, Blackbird, Lesser Whitethroat, Manx Shearwater, Pink-footed Goose, Starling, Swallow, Swift, Turnstone, Wigeon.

South Africa, Siberia, Poland, Malawi, Israel, Iceland, Finland, Canada, Brazil, Australia.

The answers are given on the BTO website at http://www.bto.org Birds on the move
In winter-time, our gardens play host to birds from many countries. These include Blackbirds, Chaffinches and Bramblings from Scandinavia, Starlings from central Europe and Redwings from both Iceland and Scandinavia. The local lake may well have waterfowl, such as Coot, Wigeon and Tufted Duck from Russia and Black-headed Gulls from the Baltic countries. Come the spring, millions of birds will be arriving back here from Africa. Warblers, having spent the winter south of the Sahara, and Swallows from South Africa are fattening up now, laying down food reserves for the long journey to Britain. At the same time, seabirds, which have followed the sun to the southern hemisphere, will be returning to breed on our shores. As these summer migrants arrive, wading birds will be on their way to the High Arctic of Canada, Greenland and Russia.An encyclopaedia of bird migration
The Migration Atlas: the movements of the birds of Britain and Ireland is an 884 page book, summarising the knowledge gained from nearly 100 years of bird ringing in Britain & Ireland. For more information about the Atlas see http://www.bto.org/research/projects/atlas.htm For further information contact: Graham Appleton on 01842 750050 or E-mail: graham.appleton@bto.orgThe Early Birdwatcher Catches The Bird

Up until last year, the only way to get involved in bird migration studies was to go to the coast or to train as a bird ringer. Now, anyone can contribute to our understanding of bird migration, just by reporting the birds in the local neighbourhood. The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) is appealing to the million birdwatchers in the UK to do more for birds. Dawn Balmer, in charge of Migration Watch, a new survey to chart the arrival of birds returning from Africa, said, Thousands of people will be looking forward keenly to the arrival of birds like Swallows and Cuckoos and will notice the addition of migrants such as Chiffchaff and Blackcap to the dawn chorus. We just need them to report their sightings on our web-site.Migration Watch was piloted in 2002 and, thanks to the support of 2,500 keen birdwatchers, there are already exciting findings to view. Looking at the animated maps, we are starting to see the way that birds arrived in the country last year, said Dawn Balmer. For instance, most Chiffchaffs hop across the Channel from France but their close relative, the Willow Warbler, cuts off the corner, flying straight from North Africa to make landfall in western Britain.Migrant birds face many threats on their long flights from Africa and if, as predicted, climate change leads to more extreme and windy spring weather they could find life even more difficult. Migration Watch will help the BTO to understand the effects of weather patterns upon important species such as Cuckoo and Spotted Flycatcher on the amber and red lists of conservation concern, respectively. 2002 was a strange year. Many people noticed how late birds such as House Martins were. Sand storms in Morocco and heavy rain over much of Spain and Portugal held up many migrants. We were starting to think that there had been huge mortality when suddenly birds flooded in during the middle of April, Dawn said.The Migration Watch website www.bto.org/migwatch opens on 16 February, although only the luckiest of birdwatchers will have anything to report that early. Once open, there will be daily bulletins of new arrivals, based on the information received in the previous 24 hours. Dawn explained what is involved. The best way to take part in Migration Watch is to choose a walk that you do on a regular basis ? on the way to work or while walking the dog, for instance ? and to make a note of the birds you see each time. Migration Watch is not just about the first birds you see. The hope is that volunteers will keep watching until all of the summer migrants have arrived.For more information on Migration Watch: Dawn Balmer 01842 750050 or E-mail: dawn.balmer@bto.org during office hours or Graham Appleton 01842 750050 or E-mail: graham.appleton@bto.org during office hours. Or for information about Migration Watch in the Republic of Ireland contact: Oran O`Sullivan, BirdWatch Ireland, 8 Longford Place, Monkstone, Co. Dublin, Ireland. Tel: +353 12804322 E-mail: bird@indigo.ieHoles for the Homeless - National Nest Box Week 2003

The focus for this year`s National Nest Box Week is the House Sparrow, ten million of which have disappeared from the UK in the last 25 years. The BTO (British Trust for Ornithology) is encouraging people to put up homes for birds during National Nest Box Week (14 ? 21 February) and also publicising local events.Fact Sheet

Many species of birds can be encouraged to nest in boxes. The most common occupant will be a pair of Blue Tits or Great Tits but bigger boxes can house Starlings and Robins may well use open-fronted boxes. This year, National Nest Box Week focuses on House Sparrows ? a new addition to the red list of species of conservation concern. It is thought that lack of nesting sites may be a real problem for House Sparrows in some areas, especially where access to roof spaces is denied. Homeowners can help by putting up nest boxes, a design for which appears on a special National Nest Box Week fact sheet, obtainable from: NNBW, Freepost 1155, Canterbury, CT3 4BRIf making or buying a nesting box for House Sparrows, please make sure that it is well insulated, that the hinge for the lid does not leak, that there are drainage holes in the bottom and that the entrance hole is at least 32mm in diameter. House Sparrows nest colonially so you may want to put up several boxes. Ideally these will be on the side of your house or garage and close to thick cover. Teach your children (or grandchildren)

A new book for children of between 2 and 6 has been launched to promote the Holes for the Homeless message. Spud Finds a Home tells the story of Spud the Sparrow`s hunt for somewhere to nest. Money raised from the sale of the book will be added to the BTO`s House Sparrow Appeal. This appeal will fund research into the reasons for the decline in the UK`s House Sparrow populations. It is believed that many House Sparrows find it hard to find places to nest in our modern houses and Spud is delighted when, after an adventurous search for a suitable home, he is provided with a new nest box. The book is written by Graham Appleton, the author of two previous children`s books about Rusty the Swallow, with wonderful illustrations by Cambridge artist, Brendel Lang. Copies of the book can be obtained from: Spud, FREEPOST 1155, Canterbury, CT3 4BR Each book costs ?5 (including p&p), half of which will go towards the BTO`s House Sparrow Appeal. Cheques should be made payable to Jacobi Jayne & Co.

4th July 2014