Results from the UK’s Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) Big Garden Birdwatch revealed a decline in back yard birds across the island nation. Resident and migrant birds have abandoned residential gardens for wilder areas.
The RSPB believes the mild winter across Europe resulted in fewer birds migrating to the UK and more birds feeding in the countryside.
The House Sparrow was the top back yard bird with just under 4.5 per garden.
Read more about the Big Garden Birdwatch.
Volunteers counted back yard birds throughout the Netherlands last weekend and the winner again this year is the House Sparrow.
The top three birds remained the same as last year: 1) House Sparrow; 2) Great Tit; and 3) Blackbird.
The one newcomer to this year’s list is the Wood Pigeon, replacing the Eurasian Tree Sparrow.
Source: Huismus weer meest gezien
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus indicus) by Lip Kee, Creative Commons on Flickr
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds says that modern British gardening habits, including paving of front gardens and deck construction, are contributing to a decline in the bird population. By reducing lawns and plants, the availability of insects that birds need when raising their chicks has been limited. The RSPB says this links directly to the dramatic decline of the house sparrow. Read more, including what you can do to stop the trend, in the Telegraph article RSPB links decking to decline in birds.
The results from a February bird count sponsored by Natuurpunt in Belgium are in. A record number of birds were counted by volunteers. More than eight thousand participants counted 352,000 back yard birds, on average 43 birds per garden. The sparrow was the most counted bird and the blackbird the most widespread.
43 birds per garden marked a 30 percent increase over the number of birds counted in 2004 and 2005, when 33 and 31 birds per garden were counted, respectively.
In part a long cold winter caused the high number of birds to seek food from garden feeders, which lead to the high count.
A striking trend is the increasing number of small birds found at Belgian garden feeders. For example, the number of finches found in back yards increased dramatically.
The next Belgian back yard bird count will take place on 3 and 4 February 2007.
Source: Recordaantal vogels geteld
Hundreds of finches across Britain are dying from an outbreak of trichomoniasis, a parasite which causes the birds a painful death but is not harmful to humans. The disease is transmitted via water or saliva, as infected birds share bird feeders and baths with healthy birds. Garden hygiene can stop the spread and homeowners are asked to keep bird feeding areas clean and change the water supply regularly. Read more about the epidemic in Garden finches fall prey to deadly virus on the Times Online.
Hummingbirds have a unique memory “so exact that it’s unique among wildlife.” Researchers monitored wild rufous hummingbirds as they visited eight feeders filled with sugar solution. The feeders were refilled at different times, and the hummingbirds were able to recognize the pattern and visit the feeders at the appropriate time. Read the story Hummingbirds sing a precise food tune on the CBC.
“Birds in the Spring” is the theme of a new exhibit in the visitor’s center of the Leidse Hout, a forest belonging to Leiden, the Netherlands. The exhibit officially opens today at 4pm during a ceremony conducted by alderman Rogier van der Sande.
The exhibit will focus on birds found in the woods around Leiden, but also on other birds found in city parks and gardens. Via photographs, drawings, audio recordings of bird songs, and models, visitors can learn about the birds and how to identify them.
A special focus will be placed on nests and birdhouses. Habitat for nests is scarce in the Leiden area so residents are encouraged to place birdhouses on their property. Visitors can learn the best places to hang birdhouses and other tips on attracting bird families to the garden.
The exhibit takes place in the Koetshuis visitor center. The center is open Wednesday 1pm to 5pm and Sunday 2pm to 4pm. The center may be open during the week as well; if the flag is hanging outside, the center is open! Entrance is free.
source: Nieuwe tentoonstelling in het Koetshuis in de Leidse Hout
This week is the Week of the Nestbox in the Netherlands. Bird protection group Vogelbescherming Nederland calls on everyone to hang birdhouses on their property in time for the breeding season, and to take note of nesting activity on their property. The group wants to make gardens and parks more attractive for bird nests while at the same time to get more people interested in birds and their protection.
In the Netherlands today, is fashionable to have a completely paved garden. More often wood fences are used to delineate property, replacing the hedges of yore. These changes have a negative impact on the songbirds that would typically nest in the hedges and search for food on grassy lawns.
Vogelbescherming also sponsors a nest-bird count. Via the website www.weekvandenestkast.nl participants can record the breeding activity in the nests.
source: Alle vogels onder dak
The Wisconsin Humane Society has recently launched the campaign WIngs: Wisconsin Night Guardians for Songbirds. The campaign focuses on the prevention of bird window collisions.
Birds may be confused by reflected landscapes in windows and crash into them. They might also see through a building’s windows on both sides and think they can fly through as if going through a tunnel. Night-migrating birds also may be confused by brightly lit buildings and fly towards them or around them until they become exhausted.
Here are some tips on how to prevent needless bird injuries and deaths from window collisions.
1. Close curtains to prevent the tunnel effect.
2. Apply window clings or ribbons to windows.
3. Install bird feeders very close or very far from windows.
There are more practical tips to be found on the WIngs website.
Early results from last weekend’s back yard bird count organized by the Belgian group Natuurweekend are in. The average number of birds counted in Flemish back yard feeders was 43.7, up from an average of 31 last year.
The higher number of birds counted this year does not necessarily mean that there are more birds in general in Flanders. A spokesperson for the group Natuurpunt noted that birds are more likely to be found at back yard feeders in times of extreme cold weather, which has been the case this winter.
This was the sixth year that the back yard bird count has taken place.
Source: Veel meer vogels in Vlaamse tuinen dan vorig jaar