Rise and shine for the Early Bird Survey!

Robin. Photo by Tony Paintin

9th – 12th January 2014

From the BTO.

Winter is not an easy time for birds. They need extra energy to keep warm, especially during long winter nights. To cope with this, they lay down extra fat reserves, though small birds quite often only lay down enough for a single night. Longer nights not only affect the amount of energy a bird uses, they also reduce the amount of time that birds can feed in. Birds, therefore, have to make the most of the daylight hours to replenish their energy reserves before it gets dark.

The 2004 BTO Shortest Day Survey, run in association with BBC Radio 4, investigated the patterns behind birds arriving at garden bird feeders first thing on a winter’s morning. Building on observations from the Shortest Day Survey, the Early Bird Survey will investigate what effect, if any, light and heat pollution have on the feeding patterns of birds during a cold winter’s morning.

Blackcap. Photo by Mick DrydenYour help is needed to work out how light pollution affects the foraging behaviour of garden birds.

The Early Bird Survey will be taking place on Thursday 9th January. It’s a simple survey that requires you to get up before sunrise (which you’ll have noticed is still quite late!), note the birds arriving at your garden feeding station and enter them online.

Once you enter your results, you’ll get immediate feedback about how your garden compares to those of other observers!

If you are free to do it tomorrow, please download the instructions today as we will also be collecting data on artificial light sources and overnight temperatures.

Find out more, including how to take part here.

Can’t do the 9th?
Don’t worry! We know that some people will be busy so we’re happy to accept observations up to (and including) Sunday 12th.

Please contact local bird recorder Tony Paintin if you are interested in further BTO surveys

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