BTO news

Quite often BTO News is something that I have a quick flick through, tell myself I’ll read it properly later and then sometimes the next thing I do with it is recycle it. But other times I read it closely.

This time I seem to have a little more time and motivation to read it more carefully.

Page 5 is pretty interesting, I thought. I enjoyed Andy Clements’s piece – we are indeed lucky that the BTO has contributed so much to our knowledge of birds, and increasingly other wildlife. And the BTO is lucky to have a range of funders including the membership who enable this to happen, and are even more lucky that people like me are giving our own time, our own cash (in terms of travel cost) and our expertise to collect shed loads of data. I’ve signed up to doing another BTO survey this year, at the last minute, funded by Natural England.

Underneath Andy’s piece is, to be honest, an even more interesting comment piece, from a Simon Banks, who points out some very important points about what the BTO is for and the potential dangers of commercial sponsorship. They are potential dangers faced by almost all charities and Mr Banks’s points are well made – very well made actually. But hats off to the BTO for publishing this thoughtful comment.

On pages 8-9 there is an article on Nightingales – it’s another thought-provoking well-written read.

Moving on to pages 10-11 there is a brief summary of the surveys carried out on woodlands by some BTO members last year (not me this time). It’s pretty basic stuff and not a full rundown but my eye was drawn to the finding that where there are gamebird feeders Woodpigeons and Carrion Crows were commoner (as well as some other species but not many are listed actually). This mirrors the findings of Larkman et al. (see my British Birds paper on Pheasants).

This reminded me that the game shooting industry releases lots of (only 47 million!) Pheasants, which feed Carrion Crows when they are carrion, and the gamekeepers feed the Pheasants that aren’t yet carrion, but also feed the Carrion Crows, and then game shooting interests believe they have to kill Carrion Crows under flawed general licences. Just stop releasing such a ridiculously high number of non-native gamebirds into the countryside! And DEFRA should realise that limiting gamebird releases is a non-lethal alternative to issuing unregulated general licences for lethal control of otherwise fully protected wild birds.

Small rant over. BTO News looks very nice too – the design is rather good. Although, on this woodland bird spread on pages 10-11 the graphs on page 11 could have been explained in a very few words, then we could have had more words on the actual findings of the study.

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1 Reply to “BTO news”

  1. Regarding commercial sponsorship, some may question the impartiality of a study, examining
    the links between gamebird releases and predator populations (Anyone's game, Autumn 2019), that was funded by Mark Constantine.
    I thought it very good, as a starting point, and unbiased, but others may view it differently.

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