Winter garden bird survey 2020-21

Zebra Finch © Steve Cooper

Cambridgeshire Winter Garden Bird Survey 2020-21

Welcome to the Cambridgeshire Bird Club Winter Garden Bird Survey. This starts on Sunday 4th October. Please do not hesitate to ask if you have any questions: gardenbirds@cambridgebirdclub.org.uk

Background to the survey and instructions

We will discover which species of birds make most use of gardens in the county during the winter months, find out whether new species are coming into gardens and whether the regular species are making more or less use of our gardens.

Over the period 2014 - 2016 the Bird Club ran a Garden Bird Survey. It consisted of two winter and two summer surveys. At the end of the summer survey of 2016 there appeared to be less interest in taking part as fewer results came in. The decision was made to take a break for three years and recommence. This would make the surveys a rolling programme over a five year cycle. Supported by members showing an interest in continuing, we held a winter survey in 2019-20, followed by the summer survey 2020. Here is the next part - the winter survey 2020-21.

The key elements of the survey are:

  • Commences Sunday 4th October 2020 and runs until Saturday 6th March 2021.

  • If you wish to take part in the survey but have missed the beginning, please do start from the date that you are able and send in any data that you have collected. The data gathered will still be of interest.

  • If you miss one or two weeks because of holidays or other reasons please leave the columns blank and continue from when you are able.

  • The recording week will run from each Sunday to the following Saturday.

  • The survey is for those people whose gardens are in the recording area of the bird club - modern administrative county of Cambridgeshire (this includes Huntingdonshire) and the unitary authority area of Peterborough.

  • Using the recording form, mark off with an X the bird species feeding or foraging in your garden for each week given. The number of individuals of any one species is not needed, just that you have seen at least one of the species feeding or foraging in your garden.

  • The form is available as a download from the website or an Excel spreadsheet to save, fill in and return electronically. The link to the spreadsheet leads to a page which shows the spreadsheet. To download it onto your PC, do NOT open it as a 'Google sheet'. Near the top right hand corner there is a down arrow pointing to a tray. Click this to download. When downloaded, if you have a prompt on the bottom line of the screen you can open it from there into Microsoft Excel. Then 'enable editing' . A PDF printable version is available to keep by the window. If you have any download problems email mfpfoley@gmail.com.

  • Please only record birds actively using your garden. The birds must come into your garden and be seen to be feeding or foraging for food.

  • A species just flying over your garden does not count. However a sighting such as a hovering Kestrel looking into your garden for food does count.

  • Species not listed on the recording form may come in to your garden during the survey. Please add into an unused row, if they too are using your garden for feeding or foraging.

  • When it comes to analysing the results it would help to know two facts about your garden. Firstly is your garden rural or urban, and secondly do you regularly provide food for the birds or not. These questions and a space for your answer are on the recording form.

At the end of the final week, (after 6th March 2021), please return your results:

As an Excel file attached to an email to: gardenbirds@cambridgebirdclub.org.uk

By post to: 15 School Lane, Toft Cambridge, CB23 2RE

Please return your results by: 30th April 2021.

I would like to thank Vince Lea and Louise Bacon for their help and support and also my husband Roger Buisson for computer advice and constructive remarks. Thank you for your interest and in anticipation of your help, many thanks. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to ask at the email address: gardenbirds@cambridgebirdclub.org.uk

I look forward to hearing from you,

Rebecca Buisson.