The survey makes us “citizen scientists” says chief executive Mike Clarke, which is a snazzy PR idea but maybe a little denigrating to those who have been through years and years of study and research.
For our children, and their friends, it doesn’t matter what you call them, they just want to spot as many birds as possible. And that is a good thing if it means the next generation are being enthused about wildlife.
The lack of song thrushes is bad news, especially in our garden where they are needed to take care of the ‘eat yer greens’ brigade of slugs and snails. But it is good that long tailed tits are on the up – a group of them in the hawthorn hedge next to my office can often make a wonderful cacophony.
As with all statistics to do with wildlife, however, remember that in localised areas the picture can be different – just ask a gamekeeper who has to put up with a large number of buzzards or a farmer whose land lies beneath growing numbers of sea eagles.
That is not to say a rise in numbers is bad but it surely should be the case that just as we manage a reintroduction we should also, sometimes, need to manage numbers when they rise. More on this in the coming weeks…