Where are all the thrushes?

Posted 19 Dec 2012

Every winter hundreds of thousands of thrushes leave continental Europe to spend the winter months on this side of the North Sea. Once here they can seemingly disappear into the countryside, and the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) would like to know where they go, what resources they need to survive to next spring and what habitats they are to be found using while they are here. The last estimates of the winter population were over 30 years ago and they would like to update these too.

For the second winter running the BTO are asking people to take part in the Winter Thrushes Survey to help find the answers to these questions. Last winter’s provisional results showed that Blackbirds, Song Thrushes, Mistle Thrushes, Redwings and Fieldfares, spent the early part of the winter feeding on berries in trees and hedgerows, moving to ground feeding for the latter part of the winter as these supplies ran low. With the bumper crop of berries and the mild conditions, will the same be true this winter?

Every new volunteer can add valuable data to this survey, especially for the core counts between 27 December and 10 January – though the main survey runs until mid April. For more information on how to take part, please click here; or telephone the BTO on 01842 750050

by Simon Byland