Original post on Ornithology Exchange. 2 – 3 volunteer field assistants are needed to help with field research on nesting seabirds. Fieldwork will occur at Burgess Island, New Zealand. Rats were removed from Burgess in 1990, and since, seven Procellariiform seabirds have established breeding colonies at Burgess (White-faced Storm-petrel, Black-winged Petrel, Grey-faced Petrel, Sooty Shearwater, […]
The SongBird Survival summer newsletter is now available to read online.
Featuring the latest news from our research projects, bird news and details of our summer show season, you can browse the full publication on our website.
Although broadleaved woodland, an important habitat for many birds, is increasing in the UK, songbird populations are still in decline. An interesting new review of previous research, combined with a field study by the Forestry Commission, has provided some possible solutions to this quandary.
Researchers studied a representative sample of broadland lowland woodlands in England and Wales, assessing the effect of woodland management (silvicultural intervention and control of deer browsing) on vegetation structure, and the relationships between vegetation structure and woodland birds.
Different bird species have different habitat and resource requirements, which researchers identified from a review of existing literature. For example, while hawfinches mainly forage in woodland canopy, dunnocks forage on the ground and willow tits are reliant on the shrub layer for their foraging requirements. Wood warblers prefer mature woodland, whereas song thrush require woodland in a younger stage of development.
As well as summarising resource requirements for 17 target bird species, the study classified different woodland stand structures from A to F, which related to their value to birds:
A – dense low shrub layer
B – dense high shrub layer
C – open understory
D – open canopy
E – closed canopy, few strata
F – closed canopy, multiple strata
The most frequently occurring structures found currently in lowland broadleaved woodlands in England and Wales were stand type E, which are of least value to woodland birds.
The crucial finding from this research is that a very high proportion of lowland broadleaved woodland in England and Wales is of fairly uniform structure. This lack of structural heterogeneity means that our woodlands are missing the mosaic of habitats which different bird species rely on.
Simply increasing the UK’s area of broadleaved woodland is not enough to help songbird populations recover: these woodlands need appropriate, targeted management to deliver a mixture of different stand structures at the landscape scale.
This research has identified a novel approach, providing woodland owners and managers with practical management advice to increase the biodiversity value of their woodland. Creating a more diverse structure through targeted woodland management practices is essential to provide suitable habitat and resources, and to enable woodland bird populations to thrive.
Read the full research paper here.
In partnership with the University of Exeter, we aim to find out how we can improve the health and welfare of cats and wildlife. Find out more below:
Did you know today is Suffolk Day? Celebrating the beautiful county of Suffolk!
Our long-term farmland bird research project is based in the wonderful Suffolk countryside. Sadly, in spite of dedicated wildlife-friendly farming efforts at this site, the number of breeding songbird territories has declined by 30% in 10 years.
SongBird Survival is working to find out why. Read more about this project on our website: http://bit.ly/2rPttn4
With bird nesting season in full swing – this is worth bearing in mind to give new fledglings a head start this Spring!
- keep cats indoors at dusk and dawn when wildlife is active
- consider attaching a bell to your cat’s collar so small birds can hear your cat is in the area
- position feeders away from walls and fences, to prevent cats from pouncing onto feeding birds
A charity has urged pet owners to keep their cats inside, while posting a picture of the ‘slaughter’ wreaked by felines on local wildlife.
Today is World Migratory Bird Day – an international celebration of the ecological importance of birds.
Watch the official World Migratory Bird Day trailer here:
Their future is our future!
To learn more about the fantastic collaborations which are happening to help conserve our migratory birds, visit the World Migratory Bird Day website.
Originally published in the Manchester Guardian on 1 May 1917, this little insight into the sounds of the countryside a century ago makes for an enchanting read.
But there’s a more sombre angle to take note of as well: with the numbers of songbirds declining in the UK, our dawn chorus is getting harder and harder to hear. The sounds of spring today are much less rich than in our parents’ and grandparents’ generation.
SongBird Survival aims to save the dawn chorus for tomorrow by researching the reasons for songbird decline in the UK, and promoting solutions to restore their numbers.
With International Dawn Chorus Day taking place this weekend, Sunday 7th May, now is a fantastic time to get outdoors and hear this wonderful natural spectacle for yourself.
Well done B&Q! As the UK’s leading garden centre retailer, they’ve just commissioned a report into the importance of gardens for wildlife, with practical ideas on how to help.
It includes a top 10 tips for beginner gardeners, including creating shelter, ponds, and making your cat safe and seen to reduce the threat to wildlife:
The report shows that 67% of people are concerned about British wildlife, and with 24 million gardens in the UK, there’s plenty of scope for people to get involved. Having a small garden doesn’t stop you from making a difference for wildlife. Even small spaces are valuable for songbirds and other wildlife. SongBird Survival have some great tips for small spaces, as well as lots of information on planting for birds.
With wildlife conservation news often focused on the doom and gloom, B&Q’s report shows that there’s a lot to be hopeful about in terms of UK wildlife.
To find out more about how you can help wildlife in your garden, read the full B&Q Nature of Gardens report here.