RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch...

Following the fortunes of our feathered friends - and news of the RSPB’s Bird of Prey Pledge campaign
At the time of writing, the rain is pelting down outside and the welcome rays of sun we have experienced for the last couple of days seem to have forsaken us once again.  I’m tempted to think I preferred the snow! 

As I’m sure everyone is aware, last weekend saw the advent of the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch, an event that has taken place every January for the last 30 years.  Thankfully the weekend weather was pretty much fine and dry, at least in our neck of the woods, so I hope everyone managed to get a good bit of bird spotting done. 

The Big Garden Birdwatch is vitally important, because it helps to create an overview of the bird numbers in each region.  More importantly, in some ways, it also pinpoints the birds that aren’t spotted, helping to identify any worrying trends in species decline.  Whether your interest lies in the conservation of song birds, bees, dormice or raptors, these trends are of crucial importance to us all.  Every animal has its part to play in the food chain and in our eco-system and any decline in species suggests that something is not right in a particular habitat.  For more information the Big Garden Birdwatch visit

While you’re at it, and perhaps a little closer to home as far as we are concerned, is news of the RSPB’s Bird of Prey Pledge campaign,designed to send a strong message to this and future governments that the illegal killing of birds of prey is unacceptable, Over the last few months the organisation has been collecting signatures in support of the campaign and this week handed over 210, 567 signatures to DEFRA as tangible proof of the strength of public opinion on the campaign. You can ‘read all about it’ on Mark Avery’s blog - click here to reach it.  

BTO Ringing Results for S.O.S. 2009
At the Suffolk Owl Sanctuary, we are always keen to contribute to conservation initiatives and you may remember from previous blogs that every year we have regular visits from members of the British Trust for Ornithology, who ring and count the birds that frequent our woodland walk. 

Coal Tit Whitethroat

Black Cap

We have just received the results of their Survey here for 2009, which has provided some interesting results.  Last year the total number of song birds counted was 171, this year the total was 254 – a marked increase.  As with last year, the largest majority of our feathery visitors was made up of members of the Tit and Finch families, with a fair number of Dunnocks, Robins, House Sparrows and Blackbirds.  Other species also included Woodpigeons, Collared Doves, Tawny Owls, Green Woodpeckers, Wrens, Rooks, Starlings and Yellow Hammers.   

The most exciting discovery was that we had three ‘first time ever’ visitors to our woodland walk in the shape of two Coal Tits, two Whitethroats and a Blackcap!  It’s really encouraging to see such diversity in just this small area and we’re hoping this year to provide an even more enticing habitat for our feathered friends.