Advertisement Picture






Birdwatch News Archive


Goldfinches use British gardens regularly, but are they early risers? Photo: Karelj (commons.wikimedia.org).
Goldfinches use British gardens regularly, but are they early risers? Photo: Karelj (commons.wikimedia.org).Enlarge image

Bird survey for early risers


Posted on: 03 Jan 2014

Members of the public are being asked by the BTO to get up early next Thursday and count the birds on their feeders.

The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) needs your help on 9 January as part of a study – dubbed the Early Bird Survey – to find out whether light pollution affects the feeding behaviour of garden birds on winter mornings.

The long, cold winter nights can be a precarious time for a small garden bird. They can lose a significant proportion of their body weight trying to keep warm and therefore need to ‘refuel’ as soon as possible the next morning in order to replenish lost energy reserves. This can be seen in a peak of feeding early in the morning by a wide range of species.

This peak is especially evident in our gardens. Around half of British householders are thought to feed their birds, providing an important resource when food is scarce in the wider countryside. This reliable resource gives us a chance to understand how the nature of the surrounding habitat can affect the feeding behaviour of birds.

In 2004, the BTO’s Shortest Day Survey revealed that urban birds could afford to get up later than their rural counterparts due to increased temperatures in towns and cities. However, in studies elsewhere in the world, light pollution has been shown to have an important effect on the behaviour of birds. The BTO wants to investigate this relationship through the Early Bird Survey, which will run Thursday 9 January.

Clare Simm from the BTO’s Garden Ecology Team said: "Our 2004 survey attracted about 6,000 people, willing to get up before dawn and record bird activity in their gardens. If you can identify common garden birds and are willing to get up a little earlier than usual on 9 January then please take part. By contributing to the survey, you’ll be contributing to important research that can help us understand the effect that urbanisation is having on our birds."

To find out more about the BTO Early Bird Survey or to download the instructions on how to take part, visit www.bto.org/earlybird.


Your Comments

Tell us what you think...

You must be logged in to leave a comment. You can log in here.
If you don't have a user account please register.

Other News

The August issue of Birdwatch hits the newsstands today!

Posted: 24 Jul 2014
The new issue of Birdwatch is on sale today, and leads with Mark Avery on the controversial killing of Hen Harriers by hunting estates, highlighting a campaign in which YOU can take part to help stop this illegal practice.

Read more…


Record-breaking butterfly count launched by Sir David Attenborough

Posted: 23 Jul 2014
Sir David Attenborough has launched the 2014 Big Butterfly Count at the London Wetland Centre, and the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust is inviting the public to help count a million butterflies.

Read more…


Why there are so few Golden Eagles in Scotland

Posted: 22 Jul 2014
Scottish Natural Heritage have issued a report which exposes the reasons for the lack of Golden Eagles in southern Scotland.

Read more…


Sussex Black-winged Stilts have fledged

Posted: 21 Jul 2014
Three Black-winged Stilt chicks that hatched on Friday 13 June in West Sussex were not unlucky at all – they have beaten the odds and fledged successfully.

Read more…


Spain radically increases Marine Protected Areas

Posted: 20 Jul 2014
The Spanish government's agricultural ministry has introduced landmark conservation legislation to increase its Marine Protected Areas 20-fold.

Read more…


  2 3 4 >

Back to News Listing