This weekend, the League for the Protection of Birds (LPO) and the National Museum of Natural History invite individuals to count the birds in the gardens. Then enter the data on theoiseaudesjardins.fr site as explained by Chantal Ségui, member of the territorial council of the LPO Haute-Garonne. Interview.
What is the purpose of the garden bird count organized this weekend?
This count is essential. The data collected will be collected by the Museum of Natural History and the LPO, and will give rise to a publication on bird populations at the national level. We need citizens for this count because the more data we have, the better. These will complement those of expert ornithologists and will be checked to detect certain aberrations. This operation contributes to the monitoring of bird populations. It makes it possible to identify declines or pleasant surprises and to launch awareness campaigns.
Why in May?
Because our migratory birds are back. For example, at this moment, we have the joy of hearing the magnificent song of the European oriole. It is the size of a blackbird, its feathers are lemon yellow and black. The hoopoe is also back, as are the very small passerines such as sparrows.
Concretely, how do we proceed to count the birds?
We choose a day (Saturday or Sunday) and a time slot, preferably in the morning (between 7:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m.) or in the evening (from 5:30 p.m.), because these are times when the birds come to the gardens to feed. You can also observe them from your balcony or yard. Better to bring a pair of binoculars.
Can we give them seeds to attract them?
No. We must not feed the birds at this time, they have everything they need in nature, but we can offer them a little water. On the other hand, if you have installed nesting boxes and they are occupied, you can at least count these birds.
Does the bird have to be in flight?
No, except for swifts or swallows. The birddesjardins.fr site provides a list of species with available photos, just compare them with what you have seen. The site even offers a quiz to practice before. During the weekend, it is a matter of listing the birds that have been seen or heard, or both.
How many species can you observe in your garden?
Fifty. In Toulouse, the most common are the blue tit, the great tit, the melanocephalic warbler (increasingly recorded in Haute-Garonne), the whitethroat, the redstart, the robin, the swift warbler and the warbler whistling oriole, hoopoe, house swallow and barn swallow… There is also the blackbird, which is hard to miss. From these counts, we know that swifts and turtledoves are in decline nationally. LPO 31 has an action in progress on the census of swallows.
How to avoid counting the same bird twice?
It is necessary to count only the birds posed, with the exception of the swallows and the swifts as I already said, which, them, are always in flight. In order to avoid counting the same bird twice, only the number of individuals seen at the same time, for each species, should be kept. For example ; if you have just seen a long-tailed tit, it always evolves in a group, so if you see it again five minutes later, it is necessarily the same because the birds are very territorial.
How to participate ?
Since 2013, the garden bird observatory has invited young and old to share their observations of the birds that frequent the gardens throughout the year, with two highlights: the last weekend of January for wintering birds and the last weekend in May for breeding birds. During the May 2021 count, more than 3,900 people mobilized. 23 birds per garden were observed on average. To participate this year, enter your observations on: www.oiseaudesjardins.fr
How to avoid confusion?
People often confuse swifts with swallows, for example. Or a barn swallow (with a bit of red on the neck) or a window swallow, both of which are white on the underside. On the site, we find all the sheets to avoid confusion.