The Importance of Citizen Science to the birds and the bees and the herps and the hedgehogs….

good goldfinch

What is Citizen Science video – I first posted a link to this a couple of months ago when we announced our Orchard Park Citizen Science activities.

Reports released yesterday by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) highlight the importance of Citizen Science. Their website says “Through the efforts of volunteers participating in BTO surveys, the bird populations of the British Isles have been monitored more effectively and for longer than those of most other parts of the world. This has produced a uniquely rich and detailed body of scientific work. This will help us to understand the complex challenges facing wild birds at a time of great change in the environment.”

The reports provide information on the Annual Totals for the Nest Record Scheme, and Species Longevity Records for Britain and Ireland. The longevity records are based on information carried on rings placed on birds by volunteers, and reports of that information to the BTO by volunteers.

Checking the longevity records for some of the regular visitors to my garden:

I’ve started to see Robins return to the garden recently, did you know they could live this long? You might be surprised to see how long some of the small and colourful visitors can live. Of course these records show the oldest recorded individuals, but they give an indication that the birds, on average, might live longer than you might imagine.

Robin  Erithacus rubecula     8 years 4 months 30 days
Blue Tit  Cyanistes caeruleus     10 years 3 months 10 days
Great Tit  Parus major     13 years 11 months 5 days
Collared Dove  Streptopelia decaocto     16 years 10 months 17 days
Goldfinch  Carduelis carduelis     8 years 8 months 4 days
Dunnock  Prunella modularis     11 years 3 months 7 days

After confirmation that we have a good breeding population of Common Lizards in Orchard Park, we hope people will join us to help with a population estimates and longer term monitoring of these beautiful reptiles on our doorstep. Information we collect can be passed on to the relevant herpetological organisations for their use in wider monitoring schemes too..

We can also help by mapping hedgehogs: http://bighedgehogmap.org/ and counting bees and butterflies and…..there’s so much we can do to help.

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