If you feed birds in your garden , then this is a survey for you and one that is not very time demanding.
On Thursday, 9th January, 2014 the British Trust for Ornithology are organizing a survey to see which species begin visiting garden feeding stations the earliest and what other factors might be influencing their behaviour, essentially overnight temperatures and light pollution. First of all the survey can be completed on any day surrounding the 9th ....... I'm going to complete mine on the 7th hoping that the feeders have not been blown away again!!
To gain a full insight into what is involved, visit this link and gain the full instructions Early Bird Survey .
It's easy to overlook the fact that, in bad weather in mid-winter, birds are really up against it and the availability of food, and their capability to exploit such resources to the maximum, is a life or death matter. Some small passerine species rely, utterly, on their body fat to get them through each of the long winter nights where sub-zero temperatures can be encountered. Factors which enhance this capability are clearly positives and shorter nights , slightly higher temperatures and the opportunity to commence feeding early due to the influence of ambient light may make a difference. Certainly, with my nearest neighbours' houses requiring binoculars to see them, the benefit of an incidental light source is minimal to non-existent in my case!!
So, the requirement is to be in place before dawn, (thankfully rather late at this time of year ), cup of tea to hand, A4 recording sheet ready to scribble your observations on and the task of recording the first ten species to visit. Fill the feeders up the night before and, if you have a max/min thermometer, set it up in a suitable place ( if you haven't got one it doesn't matter ).......and bascically that's it!! Wogan's radio show is a personal option, why not try the Today programme, there may well be a piece on about the survey, you never know.