Watching birds and learning about them is fascinating, but more needs to be done to repay the pleasure that birds give us and to allow future generations to enjoy the same privilege.
We work to support bird populations in Nidderdale and have been lucky to get permission from the owner of a private wood in the Dale to put up nest boxes there, designed for use by Blue and Great tits, Nuthatches and Pied flycatchers among others. As part of the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) Nest Record Scheme we monitor the boxes, recording the success of the nest from the early building stages through to the fledging of young birds. The records we collect are added to local and national records and are used to identify trends in bird populations and welfare. We’re not restricting our work to this wood. We are putting up nest boxes in different areas of the Dale and have seen a marked increase in the number of Pied flycatcher nests as a result. Our members also take part in other bird surveys including bird recording specifically in the Nidderdale area.
In the Autumn of 2014 we succeeded in getting a Sand martin wall built at Gouthwaite Reservoir after an extensive period of research and consultation. These migrant birds are on the Amber List (Birds of European Concern) and we were delighted when they decided to nest there the following Spring. Artificial nest sites are crucial for the welfare of these long distance migrants whose colonial nest sites in sandy soil are continually at risk from erosion. A return of sand martins each year since gives us optimism for successful breeding at Gouthwaite.
We work with local schools to encourage young people to understand the local environment and take an interest in the wildlife of the Dale. See https://niddbirds.org.uk/learning-with-birds/
Our members are also involved in volunteer work for Nidderdale AONB, undertaking conservation work every Tuesday, a fascinating way of getting to know more about the Dale and learning countryside skills.
Anyone interested in joining us will always be welcome!