Birding at Home

Whatever the weather, and whether you are locked down, recuperating, grounded for bad behaviour, nursing a hangover or just don’t feel like going out – no matter! You can still enjoy birding from the comfort of your home. Here are a few things you can explore, armed only with a laptop or mobile phone.

BTO Garden Birdwatch – BTO normally charge £17 a year to participate in this but during lockdown you can join this community for free, and contribute to this massive year-round survey that’s been running since 1995. https://www.bto.org/our-science/projects/gbw

Podcasts and radio:

·         Alfred – podcasts for and from Shaftesbury, including lots of wildlife stuff, with occasional contributions from the Club’s Alex Chapman  https://thisisalfred.com/?s=birds

·         Feedspot - gives you easy access to selected bird podcasts from around the world (mainly USA, but also Australia, S Africa, UK etc) https://blog.feedspot.com/bird_podcasts/

·         Doset Wildlife Trust Young Journalists Podcast - The Trust has eight fantastic young people (14-17) now trained in journalism skills. They have been producing a series of blogs, social media posts and a podcast on environmental issues that matter to them https://www.dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk/blog/dwt-volunteering-team/young-journalists-dorset-wildlife-trust-podcast?s=03

·        Get Birding – a series of lockdown podcasts hosted by Wildlife Cameraman, Natural History & CBeebies Presenter Hamza Yassin and young ornithologist and conservationist Dr Mya-Rose Craig. Each episode is co-hosted by a celebrity birdwatcher. An entertaining, cross-generational series is aimed at beginners, families and diverse audiences living in both cities and countryside making birdwatching accessible to all Get Birding (on Twitter) or  https://shows.acast.com/get-birding

·       Into the Wild: The Podcast – independent podcasts about wildlife and nature hosted by Ryan Dalton. You have to subscribe to listen - £3 +VAT per month https://intothewild.podbean.com/

·       Living World – podcasts of these Radio 4 programmes are available. This 2013 episode is on Godwits in the Avon Valley; from there you can navigate to other episodes: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09jby2f

·       Mya Bambrick, a young Dorset birder and BTO Youth Representative, is doing a series of 21 wildlife walks around Britain to raise money for the BTO beofre she turns 21. She is recording a youtube vlog for each walk: https://www.youtube.com/@MyaBambrick

·       Podchaser – a curated podcast list by Suzy Buttress of birding podcasts hosted by women, mainly from USA https://www.podchaser.com/lists/birding-podcasts-hosted-by-women-107a9EMvW2

·       RSPB Podcasts - https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/natures-home-magazine/rspb-podcasts/

 ·      The Casual Birder Podcast - Have a look at https://casualbirderpod.libsyn.com/

·       Tweet of the Day – podcasts of these 2-minute programmes celebrating bird calls and song, narrated by wildlife celebrities, at  https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01s6xykListen live on Radio 4 weekdays at 05:58 and Sundays at 08:58.

 ·      Wildlife Matters Podcast - Dorset Wildlife Trust podcasts featuring interviews, discussions with staff, trustees, volunteers and special guests about their work to protect Dorset's wildlife and wild places  https://www.dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk/things-do/wildlife-matters-podcast

And check out these videos:

o   Highlights of a day in the life of one of our Little Terns - video posted by the Chesil Little Tern Recovery Project in August 2023. Fantatstic close-up video of the terns at their nest, with the occasional Ringed Plover making guest appearances. Video Credit: RSPB (Megan Putt Emery & Matt Mears) https://photos.google.com/u/0/share/AF1QipNdCKEK4xLZrOdD3_VXaNyB2R-qBzCP_dlmbNd4JLeBLXRXuSTgcTWwejvMYdjRfQ/photo/AF1QipOXe-WIr9zV_xVtTN3B4SqfHCAHY-Z2IHFnDK6z?key=R29NRmVqQ3FzZkQ1dFo3eEZQdnJBaFdHazdqMkF3

o   Wild Woodbury Two Years On - another video from Dorset Wildlife Trust, made in autumn 2023, documenting the changes made to the site during the yera and the incredible increase in biodiversity achieved. https://www.dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk/what-we-do/conservation-work-land/wild-woodbury?utm_source=twitter&utm_campaign=wildwoodbury2yo&utm_medium=social&utm_content=ww2yo_twitter_video

o   Making of Wild Woodbury - inspiring video made in spring 2023 showing the phenomenal changes made to this DWT former farmland in just a couple of years. A model case study for wilding, and for managing water flow. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_6KiJt4UmVw

o   White-tailed Eagles return to England - February 2024 video by Forestry England and the Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation about the reintroduction to the south coast of England https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ob9SgbJgCps

o   White-tailed Eagles in Poole Harbour in 2022 - a short compilation video assembled by Alison Copland https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-9PdbtTnZl0

o   Notes on Nightjars - Dorset BTO Youth representative Mya Bambrick presents a series of videos about the Nightjar, based on her university placement with Dorset Nightjars https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x8LF4XnizmU

o   60 second zoology – former Exeter University zoologist Amy Hall’s prizewinning wildlife videos are great fun and educational, often about birds https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nFPH8yoaaE4

o   Ben Jordans' Birdwatching Documentary - An excellent 8-minute YouTube video in which he interviews leaders from several UK Bird Clubs (including our very own George Green) about birdwatching, birds and birders, touching on many relevant topics including the pandemic lockdown, diversity among birders, nature-friendly farming and rewilding. Well worth a watch https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZMqaueiIbl8 

o   Birds of Poole Harbour  - Osprey Season 2021: brilliant, educational, informative and often amusing short video showing highlights of the season, with lots of footage from their nest webcam https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aIbk8mq4NJk

o   Birdsong Lessons with Lucy Lapwing – Self-confessed nature nerd provides an engaging series of short videos to help beginners learn common bird songs. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DruNGZN4X44&t=411s

o   BTO bird identification videos – loads of informative videos available on their website, from very basic to quite advanced https://www.bto.org/develop-your-skills/bird-identification/videos

o   The Rare Breeding Birds Panel now has a YouTube channel. Head to https://t.co/sufQnRWgez for presentations and recording tips - much more to added in the future.

o   The 'Urban Birder' (aka David Lindo) has a series of live 'in conversation with' webinars that you need to sign up for in advance. He interviews top birders and ornithologists from around the world. Sign up to join a webinar here  - https://theurbanbirderworld.com/live-webinars/

Many interviews are available on YouTube. Here is one great example, where he interviews birder and illustrator extraordinaire Killian Mullarney  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IO3LnDssqK8&list=PL7p7isO1_qKv-SXyP5AbuB2aRPgWbJqea&index=2

o   Urban Peregrines by Ed Drewitt - a talk hosted by Essex Birdwatching Society (Dec 2022) about the recent colonisation of towns and cities by Peregrines, and what they eat https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n09pMrBEm6o

o   Urban Wilderness By a Place Near You - a new (2022) weekly series by London-based City Girl in Nature aka Kwesia, aiming to get inner city people to engage with the natural world https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y1p9OQhYpCI

o   If you're missing foreign travel, and the gorgeous sights and sounds of the tropics, try watching these relaxing videos made by Mike Rose in Thailand  Mike Rose's Thai garden bird sounds and Thai rainforest bird sounds

How about this all-day virtual summit:

Reintroduction and Rewilding Summit, hosted in April 2021 by Chris Packham and Megan McCubbin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2ABYuhvx6Q

And explore these Web-books:

Much of the Sound Approach library (courtesy of Dorset’s own Mark Constantine) is available on line for free. Fantastic books Catching the Bug, Petrels Night and Day, The Sound Approach to Birding, Undiscovered Owls – all there to browse, read, devour and savour: https://soundapproach.co.uk/web-books/

Webcams – when you can’t go out you might particularly enjoy seeing live bird action via these webcams:

In Dorset

·       Arne RSPB has webcams, one watching a Barn Owl nest and another at a feeder https://t.co/OV8QITPuYh

·       Birds of Poole Harbour webcams (1 at the Osprey nest, 2 at Brownsea Lagoon and 1 at Holton Lee) https://www.birdsofpooleharbour.co.uk/webcam/

·       Dorset Wildlife Trust Barn Owl camera https://www.dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk/wildlifewebcam

Further Afield

 ·      Knepp (West Sussex) - watch the nest of one of the reintroduced White Storks: https://t.co/GFrmQLdQ3G

·       Pretoria (South Africa) bird feeders – some familiar birds here along with South African beauties: https://www.webcamtaxi.com/en/south-africa/gauteng/pretoria-allenbird-cam.html

·       Cornell Lab Bird Cams (8 bird cams from northern and central America) https://www.allaboutbirds.org/cams/

·       Alabama bird feeders – hone your skills on southern US birds here: https://www.webcamtaxi.com/en/usa/alabama/birmingham-bird-feeder.html    

·       Los Angeles Hummingbird feeders – hummers year-round here on the warm west coast:https://www.webcamtaxi.com/en/usa/california/hummingbird-feeders.html