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Happy Birthday BirdTrack

…become part of this fascinating and valuable ornithological project…

Over 6000 people have been tracking the country’s birds for the last twelve months since BirdTrack was launched on 17 August 2004 at the British Birdwatching Fair. So what have we found and how can you help?

Last August BirdTrack was launched to look more closely at migration movements of birds throughout Britain and Ireland at all times of the year, and also to study the distributions of scarce birds. BirdTrack has now reached its 1st birthday and continues to grow in terms of its coverage and its membership but we still need more people at more sites! In the last year, 1.2 million sightings have been logged for nearly 90,000 site visits for 485 species. The data generated in terms of information about migrants and their movements continues to grow and is proving to be a valuable resource as we try to understand more about these species. People across the country have submitted their sightings via the BirdTrack website leading to a detailed picture of bird distributions across the year. So what have we found?

* Participants have helped monitor the increasing occurrence of warblers wintering in the Britain and Ireland.
* Sightings of Marsh harriers have been used to estimate the total British population.
* 2005 saw the late arrival of many migrants due to bad weather, and numbers of Chiffchaffs and Whitethroats were down on previous years.So what’s been happening more recently? Well, over the last few days many BirdTrack recorders have contacted us to say that their Swifts have now departed. Small numbers will linger here well into September, but the vast majority are now heading south to their wintering grounds in Africa and we won’t see them again until next spring.

Swallows are now forming sizable roosts at dusk and you may see them gathering over reedbeds in the evenings. In a recent development, these birds are increasingly using maize fields to roost in and this is a good example of some birds’ potential of being able to utilise new habitats when they arise.Another aim of BirdTrack is to monitor scarcer species and in recent days we have received reports of 69 Little Egrets in Medway, which is an excellent count, and reports of Spotted Crakes are beginning to come in with one being seen recently in Cheshire.

BirdTrack will continue to monitor the movements and occurrence of all Britain and Ireland’s birds and this is thanks to the wide network of people who submit their sightings on a regular basis. However, we still need more people, so why not give BirdTrack a birthday gift by registering at www.BirdTrack.net and submitting your sightings and become part of this fascinating and valuable ornithological project.

4th July 2014