There have been several recent good news reports about birds in the UK, including:
Increased sightings of rare birds: In March 2021, birdwatchers in the UK reported an increase in sightings of rare birds, including the bearded vulture and the white-tailed eagle. These sightings were attributed to a combination of factors, including changes in weather patterns and conservation efforts.
Recovery of bird populations: A report published by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) in December 2020 found that several bird species in the UK, including the bittern and the nightjar, have made a significant recovery in recent years due to conservation efforts.
Successful breeding seasons: The summer of 2020 was a successful breeding season for several bird species in the UK, including the swift and the little egret. These breeding successes were attributed to factors such as good weather conditions and the availability of food.
Increased participation in citizen science projects: In February 2021, it was reported that the number of people participating in citizen science projects focused on bird monitoring had increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. This increase in participation is seen as a positive development for bird conservation efforts.
These recent reports suggest that there are positive developments and successes in bird conservation efforts in the UK.
Birds in Buckinghamshire: The good news!
There have been several recent good news reports about birds in Buckinghamshire, including:
Successful reintroduction of red kites: Red kites were reintroduced to the Chiltern Hills area of Buckinghamshire in the 1990s, and their population has since grown to an estimated 1,000 birds. In 2019, it was reported that the birds had successfully nested in the area, indicating a healthy and growing population.
Increase in waterbird populations: A survey conducted by the Buckinghamshire Bird Club in January 2021 found an increase in the populations of several waterbird species in the county, including tufted ducks, coots, and little grebes. This increase is seen as a positive sign for the health of local wetland habitats.
Record-breaking birdwatching event: In February 2021, a virtual birdwatching event organized by the Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust attracted over 1,000 participants and raised over £12,000 for wildlife conservation efforts. The event featured live webcams of local bird species, as well as expert talks and quizzes.
Conservation efforts for declining species: The RSPB and other organizations have launched conservation efforts for several declining bird species in Buckinghamshire, including the corn bunting and the grey partridge. These efforts involve habitat restoration, predator control, and public awareness campaigns.
Overall, these recent reports suggest that there are positive developments and conservation efforts for birds in Buckinghamshire, particularly in the areas of population growth and habitat restoration.
Birds in the UK: The bad news
There have been several recent bad news reports about birds in the UK, including:
Decline in farmland bird populations: A report published by the British Trust for Ornithology in March 2021 found that farmland bird populations in the UK have declined by 57% since 1970. This decline is attributed to factors such as intensive agriculture practices and habitat loss.
Increase in illegal bird of prey killings: In 2020, there were 137 confirmed incidents of illegal bird of prey killings in the UK, including the shooting, poisoning, and trapping of birds such as eagles, buzzards, and peregrine falcons. This represents a 20% increase from the previous year and is seen as a setback for bird conservation efforts.
Impact of climate change: Climate change is having a negative impact on several bird species in the UK, including the curlew and the kittiwake. Rising sea levels and changes in weather patterns are affecting breeding habitats and food sources for these birds, leading to population declines.
Plastic pollution: A study published in February 2021 found that plastic pollution is affecting seabird populations in the UK, with over 80% of common scoter ducks and nearly 50% of northern fulmars found to have ingested plastic debris.
Decline in house sparrow populations: The house sparrow, once one of the most common birds in the UK, has experienced a steep decline in population over the past few decades. A report published by the RSPB in 2019 found that house sparrow populations have declined by 53% since 1970, with urban areas experiencing the greatest declines.
Impact of wind turbines: The construction of wind turbines in areas where birds are known to migrate or breed has raised concerns about the impact on bird populations. A study published in 2020 found that wind turbines in the North Sea were responsible for the deaths of over 100,000 birds, including species such as gannets, kittiwakes, and puffins.
Threats to seabird populations: Seabird populations in the UK are facing multiple threats, including climate change, pollution, and overfishing. A report published by the RSPB in 2020 found that seabird populations in the UK have declined by 28% since 1986, with some species experiencing even steeper declines. This has implications for the health of marine ecosystems and the fishing industry.
These recent reports highlight ongoing threats to bird populations in the UK, including habitat loss, illegal killings, climate change, and plastic pollution.
Birds in Buckinghamshire: the bad news
Here are some recent bad news reports about birds in Buckinghamshire:
Decline in farmland bird populations: A study conducted by the British Trust for Ornithology in 2019 found that farmland bird populations in Buckinghamshire had declined by 50% since 1970. This decline is attributed to factors such as habitat loss, pesticide use, and intensification of agriculture.
Impact of climate change: Climate change is affecting bird populations in Buckinghamshire, with some species experiencing range shifts or declines. For example, the redwing, a winter visitor to the UK, has declined in numbers in recent years, possibly due to changes in weather patterns.
Threats to wetland bird populations: Wetland bird populations in Buckinghamshire are threatened by habitat loss, pollution, and disturbance. The bittern, a rare wetland bird, has seen some recovery in the county in recent years but remains a conservation concern.
Illegal bird of prey killings: Buckinghamshire has seen several incidents of illegal bird of prey killings in recent years, including the poisoning of a red kite in 2019 and the shooting of a peregrine falcon in 2020. These incidents represent a serious threat to bird conservation efforts in the county.
Overall, these reports highlight ongoing threats to bird populations in Buckinghamshire, including habitat loss, climate change, and illegal killings, which require continued conservation efforts and public awareness.
Resources for schools
Here are ten great resources for schools who want to attract and care for birds:
RSPB Schools: The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) offers a range of resources and activities for schools, including information on creating bird-friendly habitats and educational materials on bird identification and behavior.
Wildlife Trusts: The Wildlife Trusts have a range of resources for schools, including ideas for creating bird habitats, downloadable bird identification guides, and activities for students.
British Trust for Ornithology: The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) offers a range of resources for schools, including bird survey programs and bird identification training.
Woodland Trust: The Woodland Trust offers a range of resources for schools, including ideas for creating bird habitats in woodland areas, educational materials on birds, and bird identification guides.
BirdLife International: BirdLife International has a range of resources for schools, including educational materials on bird conservation and bird identification guides for different regions.
Garden BirdWatch: The British Trust for Ornithology's Garden BirdWatch program offers resources and activities for schools, including bird identification guides, bird survey programs, and educational materials on birds.
Bird Academy: The Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Bird Academy offers online courses and educational materials for schools on bird identification, behavior, and conservation.
National Geographic Kids: National Geographic Kids has a range of resources on birds for schools, including educational materials on bird identification and behavior, as well as fun activities for students.
Project Wild: Project Wild offers a range of resources and activities for schools on wildlife and conservation, including materials on birds and bird habitats.
The Birdhouse Network: The Birdhouse Network, run by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, offers resources and activities for schools on bird nesting and monitoring, including tips on building birdhouses and monitoring bird populations.
Birdfeeders: linking with the KS1 & KS2 curriculum
Here are ten ways that the use of bird feeders could be linked with the KS1 and KS2 National Curriculum:
Science - Life Processes and Living Things: Students can observe birds feeding and learn about their life processes, diet, and habitat. They can also learn about the different types of birds that visit bird feeders and their physical characteristics.
Science - Interdependence and Adaptation: Students can learn about the interdependence between birds and their environment, including how birds adapt to changes in their environment and how they rely on food sources like bird feeders.
English - Writing: Students can write descriptive pieces about the birds they observe at bird feeders, including their physical appearance and behaviours. Children can write letters to local authorities and businesses, advocating for bird-friendly policies and initiatives such as reducing pesticide use and planting more trees. Children could take action against illegal bird killings, speaking out against such practices, and reporting any incidents to authorities.
English - Speaking and Listening: Students can engage in discussions about the different types of birds that visit bird feeders and share their observations and experiences.
Art and Design: Students can create artwork inspired by the birds they observe at bird feeders, such as drawings or paintings of different bird species. Students can also analyse the design of different birdfeeders and then design their own birdfeeder.
Geography - Physical Geography: Students can learn about the different habitats of birds and how bird feeders can provide a supplementary food source for birds in urban areas where natural food sources may be scarce.
Geography - Human Geography: Students can learn about how humans can impact bird populations, both positively and negatively, through the use of bird feeders and other conservation efforts.
Mathematics - Data Handling: Students can collect data on the different types of birds that visit bird feeders and use this data to create graphs and charts to analyze bird populations.
Citizenship: Students can learn about the importance of conservation efforts, including the use of bird feeders to support bird populations, and how they can make a positive impact on the environment.
Physical Education: Students can participate in activities such as building and maintaining bird feeders, which can promote physical activity and teamwork.
Birdfeeders: linking with the EYFS curriculum
Here are some opportunities to link the use of bird feeders with the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Curriculum:
Communication and Language: Children can communicate with each other and adults about the birds they observe at the feeder, sharing their knowledge and ideas.
Physical Development: Children can be involved in building and maintaining bird feeders, which promotes physical development and fine motor skills.
Personal, Social and Emotional Development: Children can learn to care for and show empathy towards the birds by providing them with food and watching them visit the feeder.
Literacy: Children can engage in storytelling, role-playing, and imaginative play centered around the birds that visit the feeder, which helps to develop language skills and narrative abilities.
Understanding the World: Children can learn about the natural world and the different types of birds that visit the feeder, as well as the role of conservation efforts in supporting bird populations.
Mathematics: Children can count the number of birds that visit the feeder, compare the sizes and colors of different bird species, and use measurement to build and maintain the feeder.
Expressive Arts and Design: Children can use the birds that visit the feeder as inspiration for creative activities, such as making bird-themed artwork or creating bird costumes for role-playing.
The use of bird feeders provides a rich and engaging context for learning across a range of areas in the EYFS Curriculum, promoting curiosity, creativity, and a sense of connection to the natural world.
Naturalist, David Mizejewski gives 5 top tips on attracting birds, including which feeder to choose; what kind of bird seed is best; is bird feeding a good thing to do or does it impact negatively on birds?
Inspirational things children have done for birds
Here are some examples of specific children from specific schools in the UK who have done amazing things for birds:
St. Martin's School in Devon: Students from St. Martin's School created a bird-friendly garden on their school grounds, planting wildflowers and installing bird feeders and nesting boxes. They also participated in bird surveys and worked with local conservation organizations to promote bird conservation.
St. Mary's Catholic Primary School in Leicestershire: Students from St. Mary's Catholic Primary School organized a birdwatching trip to a local nature reserve, where they observed and identified different bird species. They also created bird-themed artwork and raised funds for bird conservation efforts.
Newminster Middle School in Northumberland: Students from Newminster Middle School built and decorated birdhouses, providing safe and secure nesting sites for birds. They also created bird-themed artwork and organized birdwatching trips to observe birds in their natural habitats.
Finzean Primary School in Aberdeenshire: Students from Finzean Primary School participated in the RSPB's Big Schools' Birdwatch program, recording data on bird populations in their school grounds. They also created bird-themed artwork and learned about the importance of bird conservation.
Lisle Marsden Church of England Primary Academy in Lincolnshire: Students from Lisle Marsden Church of England Primary Academy created bird feeders and bird baths, providing food and water for birds in their school grounds. They also learned about bird behavior and migration patterns and raised awareness about the importance of bird conservation.
These specific examples demonstrate the amazing things that children in UK schools are doing to promote bird conservation and environmental awareness.