Friday, 28 December 2012

Rook and Roll

Got a grip! (c.OOS)
Have managed 27 species in the garden, so far this winter.  Its not a remarkable winter, by any means: relatively mild and wet.  I coaxed a few crow species into the garden by spreading out kitchen scraps on the ground: this always attract crows: got them all on the list now, except Raven which often flies over this area, calling its deep resonant 'bark', on its way to roost in a nearby conifer forest.  Its interesting that Jackdaws and Rooks, whilst abundant in the stubble fields, prefer to remain in an agricultural setting rather than habitually visit a large garden.. quite the opposite of an urban experience I expect, where crows can be a bit of a nuisance around peanut feeders, learning to balance and feed in a small space.  Our Rook, though wet and bedraggled in the photo, showed some dexterity and exercised good 'roll control' to polish off a stale bread roll!

The Jays continue to visit early in the day, what handsome birds they are.  In response to increasing number of reports of jays in gardens from members of BirdWatch Ireland, I decided to contact our Bird Atlas coordinator, Brian Caffrey, for a sneak preview and Atlas update for Jay: the resulting report is quite staggering:

Comparisons between winter 1980 and winter 2010 show a  change that amounts to a net increase of 86% in Jay distribution in Ireland and a +26% change  over Britain and Ireland as a whole.  The change in breeding distribution was even more striking with a change of +94% for Ireland and + 27% for Britain and Ireland, over 20 years, comparing 1990 with 2010.

Jay: all has changed! (c. OOS)

Brian Caffrey will be reporting on the remarkable story in some detail in the next issue of Wings and we can look forward to the Bird Atlas publication appearing in the final quarter of 2013, a must for all the 2000 + volunteer participants who took an active part in the Irish effort.. We will also have very attractive pre-publication offers on the book, details over the next few months.

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