Take part in the Merseyside Bird Race – 22-23 April

As part of the University’s Biodiversity Action Group the University has set up a ‘Merseyside Bird Race’ event to support the UN Environment Programme Green Nudges and celebrate International Biodiversity.

Bird racing involves identifying as many species as possible in a defined geographical area during a 24 hour period. It’s a great way to get to know the birds in your local area and share your appreciation of nature with like-minded people.

The bird race starts at midnight on the 22nd April 2021 and ends at midnight on 23rd April 2021.

Teams can contribute £5 to enter and monies raised will be donated to the local RSPB. A JustGiving page has been set up where you can donate the entrance fee. Alternatively, scan the code below and it will take you directly to the Justgiving page:

Rules for the Bird Race

Rules as follows:

  • Teams have to be between two and six people and have to stay together.
  • If two or three members are on a team, all have to see or hear the species but not necessarily the same individual bird.
  • If 4 team members in a team 3 have to see or hear each species.
  • Come up with a funny, bird themed team name.
  • If a bird is outside the metropolitan county but you can see it or hear it count it.
  • No tape luring.
  • No lamping of birds at night.
  • No domestic, non-wild birds allowed but feral pigeon is allowed
  • No ‘spotters’ to check out sites for teams in the race on the day.
  • No stringing (pretending you have seen something you haven’t)
  • No accessing private sites not available to all teams
  • If any team finds a county or national rarity they let the other team know.

When putting your team together please consider the government’s guidance regarding social distancing. Please submit your lists to host Carl Larsen at: clarsen@liverpool.ac.uk. Carl will post a full report of the race, with results and details of the species recorded, and of course the winner on Saturday, 24 April.

Carl’s advice

Carl Larsen, who is hosting the race has provided some advice for prospective teams:

“Plan your route. Firstly, look at a map of Merseyside and note its boundaries and key habitats that fall within or adjacent to them. We have more or less the whole of the Wirral peninsula and coast line all the way from Speke Garston to Moels but you would spend too much time driving if you tried to do both sides of the river. Look up the status and distribution of birds in Merseyside. It’s good to research where birds roost (sleep) so you can catch difficult to see species when they wake up.

Consider the following: tide times as you may want to be on the coast at high tide, opening times for nature reserves, and train times if you are using public transport. Electric scooters might be a brilliant and sustainable way to get around. Ensure you have lots of food and drinks and wear sensible clothing and foot ware”

If you can’t leave your home or office keep a bird list through the window. We will announce a separate winner for this category.

In terms of bird identification practice your calls, songs and flight identification. If you get a very poor view of a species (UTVs un-tickable views) please don’t be tempted to convince yourself you identified the species. Here are some useful links:

Visit the RSPBs website https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/  (Links to an external site.)

Here is one of the better bird ID apps – Chirp. It cost £3.99 so much cheaper than a field guide and will cover all of the species that we are likely to encounter:  https://apps.apple.com/gb/app/chirp-bird-songs-calls-of-britain-and-europe/id373561269 (Links to an external site.)

There are some free apps such as opinion BirdID: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=phoot.pimms.hintbird (Links to an external site.)

To learn bird songs/calls visit: https://www.british-birdsongs.uk/ (Links to an external site).