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BIRDERS are coming together (1 Viewer)

Steve

Snoozing
Staff member
United Kingdom
BIRDERS are coming together in a global show of unity against coronavirus.

A ring is being put on the calendar to designate April 5 as the Great Back Yard Birdwatch when tens of thousands of nature lovers locked down around the world by the pandemic will be tallying the wildlife they see.

Whether it is those in self-isolation recording garden birds from inside their homes, or those venturing outdoors on socially-spaced exercise walks, the hope is to celebrate the wonders of wildlife with spring reaching northern climes and autumn arriving in the southern hemisphere.

From Alaska to Zanzibar, nature lovers are being urged to compile checklists, take photographs and share stories of their encounters with birds and other creatures, both great and small, on the BirdForum platform and with the Self Isolating Bird Club.

BirdForum – the net’s largest birding community – has joined forces with the social media group set up by wellknown television presenter Chris Packham to lift spirits, combat loneliness and connect with wildlife from a safe distance.

On both sides of the Atlantic migrant species are now arriving from their wintering grounds to seek out nesting territories. In Europe, wheatears, flycatchers and hirundines are navigating the Sahara to start making landfall in coming weeks.

Their journeys are being mirrored through the Americas, with brightly coloured wood-warblers, tanagers and hosts of shorebirds on the move. Nature’s colourful kaleidoscope is also being accentuated by plants coming into flower and butterflies, bees and other insects on the wing.

Living in a time of pandemic does not stop people enjoying the sights and gaining the physical and mental health benefits of connecting with the natural world, even while having to stay indoors.

Over coming days, BirdForum will continue bringing you more news of the Great Back Yard Birdwatch and how you can post pictures, checklists and personal accounts on our platform as well as the Self Isolating Bird Club’s Twitter and Facebook feeds.

We also hope to forge links with wildlife organisations around the world to show that nature is the best medicine.
Please adhere to the regulations being laid down in your country regarding safe-distancing and self-isolation.

Details and more to follow
 

Farnboro John

Well-known member
Why don't birders do something useful instead of a show of unity, stick to their usual sites and make a migration study over the whole period to provide a level of sustained data that has never been possible before? My plan is to be out recording birds over and in my garden daily to the best extent that I can, a one day event seems hugely unambitious to me.

And where is the BTO in all this? They should be leading....

John
 

Steve

Snoozing
Staff member
United Kingdom
John,I would say that the majority of people don't want to do a scientific study of migration over there garden or apartment balcony, I also don't think that many youngsters or indeed any age people have the id skills to know what a flock of seagulls (type) for instance looks like?

People will be happy just to report what they see on the 5th of April whether its on migration or just pecking seed of a feeder.

cheers

Steve
 

dantheman

Bah humbug
Sounds like a great idea. Doesn't have to be exclusive to anything else either - the more ideas the better, and of course no reason why one can't feed into the other.

Assume this can have a more International reach than eg something led by the UK's BTO (and I understand more will be happening from the BTO in any case.)

If it raise the profile of wildlife and gets people interested/motivated ...
 

Farnboro John

Well-known member
John,I would say that the majority of people don't want to do a scientific study of migration over there garden or apartment balcony, I also don't think that many youngsters or indeed any age people have the id skills to know what a flock of seagulls (type) for instance looks like?

People will be happy just to report what they see on the 5th of April whether its on migration or just pecking seed of a feeder.

cheers

Steve

Your article says "birders are coming together" and I took it in that sense. What you say now makes me think it is even better than I thought if we keep birders' actions separate from the hoi-polloi Chris Packham is attempting to enthuse. Lets do something lastingly useful with this prolonged but hopefully one-off opportunity, not participate in ephemeral love-ins.

John
 

Farnboro John

Well-known member
You suggest it then John and we will run it up the flag pole.

OK.

Before starting yet another thread, I'll set out what I think we should be doing, here. If you like it and think its worthwhile, and/or anyone else suggests improvements, then perhaps we have something that deserves its own thread.

Lockdown Migration Watch:

Everyone who is locked down to whatever extent can contribute, for the first and hopefully last time, to a prolonged report over a wide area of the country/continent/world of the microdetail of what passes over where.

All data is useful to somebody. There is no way of completely standardising observations. However, some guidelines are necessary.

1. Identify the location accurately.

2. Record the period of observation: start time, finish time.

3. Record the weather including if possible wind direction and strength.

4. For each sighting, record basic data:

Species
Quantity
Direction if flying over or moving through - just an arrow over N, NE, E etc.
Remarks (any behaviour, calls, identification features if necessary, etc.)

For "resident" species just put species and quantity - maximum in view at any one point as per Big Garden Birdwatch. If you have presumed local commuters like Canada Geese these should be fully reported as above which may reveal real movements.

Do this for as many days as you can during lockdown. Before you know it you will resentfully be going back to normal.

Reporting: Add each day's report(s) to relevant BF thread. We already have a forum for ID queries which can cover those. (It has occurred to me that perhaps a new sub-forum might be best for this stuff?) BTO or whoever can pick it up from there.

I've almost certainly forgotten something important. But somebody out there will spot it instantly.

John
 

Robert Wallace

Well-known member
May I remind UK birders about the BTO Garden Birdwatch scheme. This year it is celebrating 25 years of recording weekly sightings from your garden.
Records can be easily submitted on-line.
This is "citizen science" and provides important information about the state of many common British Birds.
For example it identified the bird disease in Greenfinches and confirms the decline of the Chaffinch.
In this period of self -isolation it is an ideal opportunity to add to our knowledge of Garden ecology.
It also allows observers the opportunity to record other sightings including butterflies, dragonflies, mammals, amphibians and insects.
It only costs £17 per year to join.
I urge all UK birders to consider this important scheme, it makes garden birdwatching worthwhile during this difficult time.
More details on the BTO website ( British Trust for Ornithology).
 

Deb Burhinus

Used to be well known! 😎
Europe
OK.

BTO or whoever can pick it up from there
John

Why not just put observations straight onto BirdTrack? - it’s easy enough for people to sign up to and set up their garden or park as a ‘site’ - you don’t have to be a member.

https://www.bto.org/our-science/projects/birdtrack/about/introducing-birdtrack-home

At least the results will become part of a proper database and of future value.

(doesnt mean people can’t put their 5 April lists on BF too but I don’t understand why make it look like science when it could be part of real science)

Supporting the scheme Steve outlined otherwise, would actually provide some relatively light-hearted engagement with nature for others that want to take a less ‘rigid’ approach.
 
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Farnboro John

Well-known member
Why not just put observations straight onto BirdTrack? - it’s easy enough for people to sign up to and set up their garden or park as a ‘site’ - you don’t have to be a member.

https://www.bto.org/our-science/projects/birdtrack/about/introducing-birdtrack-home

At least the results will become part of a proper database and of future value.

(doesnt mean people can’t put their 5 April lists on BF too but I don’t understand why make it look like science when it could be part of real science)

Supporting the scheme Steve outlined otherwise, would actually provide some relatively light-hearted engagement with nature for others that want to take a less ‘rigid’ approach.

Going straight onto Birdtrack is an excellent point (though I don't know how much information goes into a sighting report) but it lacks the "coming together" that a thread on here would have. Joining the scheme devised for 5 April brings all the problems of poor data quality associated with non-birders.

Personally I'm getting plenty of engagement from BF and I'm grateful for it.

So I'm more likely to keep on with the tribal, but limited scope, garden/yard list than to go for a one-dayer: I just think we ought to be doing more and this would be my suggestion for the best way a joint BF effort could contribute. Our strong point is the people that get involved constantly. We should focus that - without charging people, some of whom will be struggling with the negative financial aspects of lockdown, for the privilege.

John
 

delia todd

If I said the wrong thing it was a Senior Moment
Staff member
Opus Editor
Supporter
Scotland
John said:
Going straight onto Birdtrack is an excellent point ..... but it lacks the "coming together" that a thread on here would have.

That is what I was going to say.

Also entries onto Bird Track are for the British Isles only... and there really is no reason for an either/or. Put them on there as well.
 

delia todd

If I said the wrong thing it was a Senior Moment
Staff member
Opus Editor
Supporter
Scotland
So It was pointless us putting up an idea for BF members?

I don't think so Steve... I think it's a wonderful idea to join the whole world together in a project like this.

Hope it works out.
 

Steve

Snoozing
Staff member
United Kingdom
We are not a notice Board for the BTO and the BTO do not have the reach abroad that we have, don't get why people are trying to distract members with other options?

I get it if you don't want to take part but please don't champion others.
 

Jon Turner

Well-known member
I have a friend in Cornwall who has been recording everything in or over his garden for more than a week now after going into isolation. Max 33 species. He says it gets competitive to beat the record and on one day he saw a nearby Grey Heron but was thwarted by missing Long-tailed Tit which have a nest in the garden.

He's also recording Butterflies, which he has been doing for donkeys years and is up to 6 species now.

Also seeing badgers every day, or at least the results of their labours - mostly digging up his lawn.
 

Deb Burhinus

Used to be well known! 😎
Europe
That is what I was going to say.

Also entries onto Bird Track are for the British Isles only... and there really is no reason for an either/or. Put them on there as well.

BirdTrack went global some years ago but that’s beside the point, I’m all in favour of BF doing something.

I think we should come up with something alongs the lines a ‘BIG BF BIRDWATCH’ on April 5 maybe - Or have a BF BIG MiGRATION WATCH daily thread along the lines John suggests - the thing is John said ‘let the BTO take it from there’ - my point only was that someone will still need to collate the data and put it into some kind of database system where it can be used to make propositions etc. before it had any real scientific value. Would anyone be willing to do that?

Otherwise, It could still be very interesting even without the ‘scientific clothing’ - I do think maybe a Migration Watch would work better with a fixed species list - not all species people will be seeing are migratory - also the direction if flying should probably be logged (eg N->NE), then the daily sightings would definitely provide some anecdotal interest with birders.

A bit confused how many ideas are floating here - presumably John’s proposal is nothing to do with the Big Birdwatch (which I wasn’t dismissing!!)
 
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