How Covid 19 has affected my placement
Guest Blog By Aoibhe McCarron
My original project for this year was a project focusing on farmland birds such as tree sparrows. After having surveyed a site called Silverwood for many weeks I decided I would take this on as a project. At Silverwood, I saw that the wild bird cover, which had been introduced, had caused an increase in the abundance of bird species at the site. The site had also been allowed to grow and not managed in the same way it had been before. Species such as Linnet which hadn’t been seen there before began to appear.
Tree sparrow, and many other seed-eating bird species, have been in decline in the UK and Ireland due to loss of habitat, food sources and new farming practices. I decided to take on several sites around the Lough shore to see if something similar could be carried out. I chose sites which were former areas where tree sparrows had been seen, which I learned about from a lady called Pat Flowerday who had carried out a similar project about 15 years prior. I decided to put up new nest boxes at the site and feeders to see if this would help bring the birds back to the Lough shore. Unfortunately the project was cut short due to the COVID 19 lockdown. However, I think the surveys I have carried out will make good data for comparison when the project is properly executed next year. I did see tree sparrows at one of the sites, and I’ve also made links with the landowners and got their permission to put up the new nest boxes so I hope I have set up the base for something good next year.
I had to return to my home in Derry. I thought about what I could do and decided to make a similar mini project based in my garden. I’ve encouraged my dad to let the margins grow a little to see if this will help. I’ve been surveying a few days a week 8am-9am which I think has really helped bring along my bird ID skills. I’ve also been making note of any pollinators I could spot. The main species I’ve seen in my garden are Starling, followed by House sparrows and Chaffinches.
I decided to take a walk out the road where I live the other day and survey there, where I saw something really interesting which I hadn’t seen before. Two little yellow faced birds with brown wings which I couldn’t identify, so I went home and had a look online. I discovered the birds were Yellowhammers, which are red listed so I was really pleased to see it.
I plan to get a bird feeder when I can and see what effect this has on my results in my garden. I think this has taught me anyone can make a difference even at home in their own garden with simple projects like these.