Birmingham University researchers seek help from bird watchers

A group of Scientists from the department of schools and bioscience at Birmingham University have launched a project to research how garden birds survive in our towns and cities.

Working with the city council, researchers  from the University captured and gave coloured rings  to 12 common species of bird,  included blackbird, robin, chaffinch and blue tits in the areas of Sutton Park, Sutton Coldfield and the part of Shire Country Park between Small Health and Yardley Wood, the birds where then released back into their habitat

It is hoped that people across the city will spot the birds with coloured rings and help provide vital data to the researchers about how far these birds travel.

Emma Rosenfeld, who is in charge of the project for the university said: “There has been a lot of work on long distance migration, but we know very little about how birds move around large cities to feed and survive”.

“By getting people to look for the colour rings, we will be able to get a picture of how far the birds in your garden move to feed and what areas they use most often. Although the birds were ringed in Shire Country Park and Sutton Park, individuals could turn up anywhere in the city.”

The study is part of The National Open Air Laboratories project, which is aiming to encourage people to study, explore, enjoy and protect the environment local to them. The project benefited from a grant from the Big Lottery Fund to help bring scientists and communities closer together, other Birmingham studies will look at bats, moths and bees.

Dr Jon Sadler, from the University said: “Much of Birmingham doesn’t seem very promising habitat for small birds, but they have adapted to survive and flourish. What we want to know is how much birds move around from green oases like parks into our gardens. This will help us know what areas in a city are important”.

“But for us to get the best possible picture of how our garden birds behave we really need people to help. So we would encourage everyone to get their binoculars out and get spotting.”

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March 04 2009 04:43 pm | News

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