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  • Writer's pictureDavid Darrell-Lambert

The Half Way Point or Song

So I am now at my half way point of my research into breeding birds and their territorial behaviour. The early start will start to get later and later, I have to say after my last one at 2am, getting up later will be nice, rather than scilly o’clock. But is what goes with the territory, the odd hours of work.

So what do we see so far? Well perhaps no surprise that the numbers are starting to drop for both the total number of territorial birds recorded and the maximum per survey. This is what you would expect the most vocialisation to occur when the bird have started breeding and are setting up their territory. Later, once their young have fledged they become too busy to engage in territorial behaviour. This is especially true with birds that are mostly single brooded such as some species of Tit and Woodpeckers.

Perhaps a recap will help on the method. Start 1.5 hours before sunrise, walk a straight (as possible) 500 metre route, count all the territorial birds for every species present and repeat it every 30 minutes for six hours.

So what else there to learn from this so far? Well let look at the peak period during each survey. So back in January the singing did not kick off until after the first half an hour after sunrise and then continued, peaking in the first three surveys. This explosion progressed earlier and earlier reaching half an hour before sunrise from March and this was consistence until June at least (we’ll have to wait to see what happens during the rest of the year).

The above table showing the time of the survey in relationship to sunrise and the percentage of total birds recorded during each visit. Everything over 10% of the total singing birds per day is highlighted.

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