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Garden bird survey


 
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Location: Donegal

PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2014 8:30 pm    Post subject: Garden bird survey Reply with quote

I registered for Birdwatch Ireland's Garden Bird Survey last Monday. The week's count from not-very-frequent observations is 15 species. Nothing too unusual, though I'm glad to see the long-tailed tits back. They are so beautiful and at the same time almost comical. Despite feeding birds for years, I only saw them in the garden for the first time last winter.
Anybody else doing this? What avian activity elsewhere?
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Sive
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Location: Co.Wexford

PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2014 9:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We've been doing the survey for many years now and it's the best way to learn about birds. You need a good book about Irish birds and a pair of binoculars ( unless you have brilliant eyesight ) and it quickly becomes part of the day's activities and something we really miss when it comes to an end in March.
We had a rather uneventful winter last year as I think there was so much wild food available with the mild winter that we didn't have huge numbers coming to our bird feeders.
This year we are seeing lots of sparrows, which is great as their numbers are in such steep decline.
I'd highly recommend getting involved to anyone who is reading this...you don't need to be a member of Birdwatch Ireland ...just go on the website and download the form...you can even submit your results online in the spring. It couldn't be easier !

http://www.birdwatchireland.ie/OurWork/ResearchSurveys/GardenBirdSurvey/tabid/121/Default.aspx
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 08, 2014 12:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good to hear from you, Sive. I did the survey last year as well and got a lot of fun out of it - I had intended doing it for years but never got around to it. Like you, I'd thoroughly recommend it to anyone as its a great way to begin looking more closely at our surroundings.
The best garden bird watching book I've come across is "Ireland's Garden Birds" by Oran O'Sullivan and Jim Wilson. It is published by The Collins Press and is very reasonably priced. www.collinspress.ie
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Sive
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 09, 2014 8:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I use "the Birds of Ireland" by Jim Wilson and I like that it is illustrated with photos rather than drawings. It's the Little Brown Jobs that are the hardest to identify !!
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 09, 2014 10:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's the same reason I like Irish Garden Birds - the photos are excellent. There are far too many LBJs, to my mind! And today the rain was lashing the windows so hard that it was hard to see anything properly. I've noticed a lot more sparrows this year, too.
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Sive
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 10, 2014 4:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Did we ever think we would be excited about sparrows ? But as Joni Mitchell sings "You don't know what you've got till it's gone." Even starling numbers are way down, so I love to see them whenever a flock lands in our garden.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 10, 2014 11:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, she's a very prescient lady!
It's funny about the starlings, too. Until last year I never really noticed them much, in the garden, though there were always plenty around and about. Now I often get small flocks of 6 or 8 - they can fairly demolish the fatballs!
I wonder am I only noticing them because I've read of their scarcity, or is it that ive been using more fatballs these last two years? Probably the latter, I think.
Do you have a routine for observing/recording for the survey, or is it by happenstance?
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Sive
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 11, 2014 5:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just draw up a grid on a rough bit of paper, and list the birds and then add the numbers of various birds whenever I see them.....I'm fairly relaxed about it all as it is a weekly count.....I don't think Birdwatch need a very scientific approach, just information about trends.
As for starlings, depending on the severity of the weather elsewhere, I think starling numbers can be boosted by winter migrants, but I have seen no sign of that yet.
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