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West Midland Bird Club

Studying Birds in Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire and the West Midlands since 1929

Attend Local Branches and Field Trips  -  Visit our Reserves  -  Record your Bird Sightings

Supporting the West Midland Bird Club is a positive step in conserving important habitat for birds and other wildlife. You will also be contributing to the ornithological knowledge of the region. Get the most from your birding activities by becoming a member today. Using this website will provide you with all the information that is required in making you aware of how this Club functions, how to become involved in Club activities and to encourage you to further your birding interests by developing your knowledge of the birds of the region.

There is plenty of information at hand within these pages, however, please do not hesitate in using the contact us page via the menu or the info@westmidlandbirdclub link at the foot of all pages if you would like to take a personal approach to gathering information; the Club Secretary will be pleased to deal with any enquiry. There is great scope to become involved in a wide range of Club activities, likewise you can go about your birding activities on a personal level and simply enjoy what the West Midland Bird Club has to offer in assisting your interests.

Recent Sightings BR Sub adult male

2016 - Regional Black Redstart Survey

This is a joint survey that has been organised through the combined efforts of the West Midland Bird Club and regional network of the British Trust for Ornithology. Throughout 2015 announcements of this survey have been placed on this website and in the Clubs Newsletter to provide an awareness of the project in preparation for the survey commencement date on January 1st 2016. This survey will benefit from your involvement and everyone is welcome and encouraged to take part. Please use the link below to visit the dedicated survey pages in order to find out more about the survey and how you can become involved.

2016 - Regional Black Redstart Survey

Undeveloped plumage male Black Redstart

Coleshill, Warwickshire - September 22nd 2011

ageing the bird at approximately 15 months

Photo - Dave Hutton

Local Branch Indoor Meetings and Field Trips

Make the most of your membership by visiting your local branches and enjoy the excellent talks that are taking place throughout the WMBC branch network. Likewise, book a seat on one of the Clubs Field Trips, visiting some of the UKs top birding sites. Detailes for all Branch and Field Meetings can be found on this website by visiting the appropriate location via the menu. The WMBC Newsletter also carries the same information.

Not a member, not a problem! please go along and enjoy the evening or trip, you will be made most welcome.

Short-eared Owl

Kempsey, Worcestershire

Steve Seal

In order to ensure continuous coverage through one full winter period, December through February, all records for this survey can be submitted to end of February 2017.  

Tree Pipit 1 Dave Hutton C Chase

West Midland Bird Club

2017 Cannock Chase Bird Survey

In memory of Frank Gribble MBE

Cannock Chase is a site of regional and national importance and 2017 will see the continuation of bird survey work at this site that has been carried out at five yearly intervals since 1992. The links below provide information concerning the 2017 survey that has been organised by the Stafford Branch of the West Midland Bird Club under the guidance of project manager Roger Broadbent

 

The Tree Pipit is one of a number of iconic bird species that breed at this site. Photographed here by Dave Hutton on the chase in May 2016.

Targeting certain species is an integral and important feature of this survey.

Aims of the Survey Methodology and Survey Commitment Survey Recording Requirements Cannock Chase Target Species Jay 2 - Kynpersley - Steve Seal

Eurasian Jay - Knypersley - Steve Seal

Membership Matters

Following the recent announcement informing members that due to circumstances beyond our control, some may not receive their membership renewals until mid-February, we can confirm that on 09/02/2017 all membership renewals have been posted. Please allow for the normal postage time frame. Thank you for your understanding.

Winter Birding - midwinter update

The occurrence of a wider variety of bird species using domestic gardens and feeding stations is something that has become apparent in recent times (recent in terms of avian evolution). It is likely that the presence of some of the more unusual birds has always been noted, however, the frequency with which these birds occur has increased. I suppose that we should never be too surprised to learn that a member of the crow family has fathomed out how to exploit a food source but the Jay is a perfect example of a bird that has extended its range of natural habitat to include domestic gardens. As well as using the garden as a year-round lifestyle, the amount of bird species that have adapted their feeding habits to include taking food from hanging seed feeders has also increased unimaginably. During the last two or three decades and, seemingly at a continuing rate, we have witnessed a first hand account of recent behavioural development. There will be many of you who are reading this that can hark back to a time when Jay was considered a bird of rural broad-leaved woodland and the occurrence of a Coal Tit in your garden as being out of the ordinary. The occurrence of both of these birds in urban locations and particularly in urban gardens, would have been highly unlikely 30 years ago. Today, both birds appear in sub-urban and urban gardens and both attend garden feeding stations as a natural behaviour.

Coal Tit 2 - Knypersley - Steve Seal

The excellent images of Eurasian Jay in our feature image and the Coal Tit above, are both taken by Steve Seal at Kynpersley and both depicting birds that are no strangers to gardens.

The point being made is the great importance that is now placed upon garden habitat and the influence that this has on our wild birds. Without doubt the domestic garden, irrespective of size, has become one of Britains largest and most important wildlife habitats, particularly when considered as a nationwide unit. The structure of the garden and the surrounding habitat will have a bearing upon the wildlife that inhabits or uses it but in all cases, a well maintained and regularly stocked feeding station has become key in attracting a good many species of wild birds.

The list of bird species that regularly use gardens is extensive and again, this includes birds that not so many years ago would not have been associated with taking food from hanging seed feeders, Magpie, Jackdaw, Long-tailed Tit, Blackbird and Dunnock to name but a few. The list may be localised as some bird communities adapt sooner than others where garden feeding is less intensive. Watch for the Magpie fluttering up to a hanging feeder and buffeting it with its feet to dislodge the seed, then immediately dropping to the ground below to feed on the seed spillage.

All of the birds that occur at garden feeding stations receive a tremendous boost to their fight for survival, particularly through the winter period. It can't be stressed strongly enough that feeding stations have become and will continue to be, a vital source of food supply to a great many birds and this is proven by the number of species that have adapted to this bounty.

Can you feed birds throughout the year? The answer to this is yes, but when natural food sources can be so much  harder to come by  during  colder  months, then

winter feeding can be most beneficial. When feeding in spring and summer, be selective in your choice of food, high energy offerings such as Meal Worms and special mixes for insect eating birds are most suited. A summer supply of this type of food will greatly assist adult birds during their efforts to raise nestlings and fledglings. Well nourished and healthy adults will stand a greater chance of providing for their young than malnourished and weak individuals, thus offering every opportunity of a greater survival rate.

A constant supply of clean water is also essential at any time of year and, with an emphasis on clean, then this most certainly applies to your feeding station. A poorly kept station that is alowed to become dirty is detremental to all species of bird that use it.

In making the effort we have created a massive nature reserve out of our accumulated gardens and while this serves the birds greatly it also provides great pleasure to us, the keepers of this reserve.    

Sparrowhawk - Peter Lichfield - Ladywalk

This image of an immature Sparrowhawk was expertly captured at our Ladywalk Reserve feeding station by

Peter Lichfield

Don't be too concerned about the visits to your feeding station by Sparrowhawk. It is true that in our efforts to feed, assist and enjoy the birds in our garden we corral many small passerines, which in turn draws the attention of the hawk. However, Sparrowhawk are very adept at catching and they are just as likely to obtain their daily intake of prey whether it be at a feeding station in your garden or from bird gatherings eslsewhere. Who, amongst us, will not marvel at witnessing the occasional and natural Sparrowhawk attack in exactly the same way we marvel at other birds of prey. In our efforts to attract and assist birds we cannot be discriminative and we need to accept that by providing for some we naturally accommodate the whole chain.