The Big Croydon Bird Watch 2024

It is once again time for us to throw down the gauntlet and invite you to join in The Big Croydon Bird Watch for 2024. We hope that as many of you as possible will spend a day of your choosing during May to help us monitor the birds around Croydon, whether breeding here or just passing through on their way elsewhere. You can do it on your own or as part of a team of up to four people. The current record for the number of species recorded during a single day in Croydon is 69. So far, no-one has officially managed the mythical total of 70. That should be possible on a good day, but requires individuals or teams going round as many sites as possible in Croydon.

While you can, of course, choose to use a car to get around we would encourage you to participate in more environmentally friendly ways. Some of the options you could try are:

  1. Record birds in or from your garden, for just an hour looking out of your kitchen window (as for BGBW) or by dipping in and out at different times during the day.
  2. Go down to your local park and spend some time there looking at the birds.
  3. Walk around various places in your local neighbourhood.
  4. If you are feeling energetic, you could try extending your walk and spend the whole day walking round as much of Croydon as you can manage.
  5. Go round a variety of sites in Croydon using a combination of walking, cycling and public transport.

The last two may require a bit of planning to make the most of your day visiting different habitats. The species that you see (or hear) as you go from place to place can also be included in your day’s tally. And you don’t have to limit yourself to doing it on just one day. Last year Nicola Hunt went out and about most days of the month to visit as many sites as possible in May.

We would like you to send in a list of the birds you record during the day, giving the location(s) where they were found. (It would be of great benefit for monitoring purposes if you could send in full lists of species for each site you visit.) With a bit of luck, we will get a much better picture of what species are around during the month, and where they are. And it would be even better if you could provide us with evidence of breeding, or possible breeding, for the different species. That could be in the form of seeing young birds, birds on a nest, eggs in a nest or food being carried for young.

Great Crested Grebes mating by Lucinda Offer
Tawny Owlet by David Rouse

The individual/team that records the highest number of species during their Big Day will be awarded The Croydon Challenge Trophy. There are some rules to be followed (some of which to ensure the welfare of the birds), and you are all trusted not to cheat! Those are given below.

If you feel able to ask family and friends to sponsor you for your efforts, you could help us raise much needed funds for the RSPB’s work; I can send you a sponsorship form for you to use, if you wish. Alternatively, you could make a small donation to the Croydon Group to sponsor the event.

Please do let me know if you intend to take part and what you will be doing. If, at the end of the day, you have any money to pay in, I can send you details of the Group’s bank account, or let us have cash or a cheque (made out to ‘RSPB Croydon Local Group’).

The Rules

  • Teams comprise up to 4 members.
  • To participate for a period of up to 24 hours (from midnight to midnight) on any day within the month of May 2024 (to be chosen by the team). You can start and finish at whatever times you like during the day.
  • Birds to be recorded (either seen or heard) within the borough of Croydon (unless you are watching your own garden when this rule does not apply).
  • For sites that straddle the borough boundary (eg Riddlesdown/Warlingham Court Farm) the whole of that site can be included.
  • Identification must be agreed by a majority of the team members.
  • All sightings should be recorded and submitted to the organisers as soon as possible after the event.
  • No domestic species, pets, hybrid species (eg Canada x Greylag Goose) or “obvious escapes” may be counted. NB Feral Pigeon counts as a species for the purposes of this event.
  • The use of playback and lamping of birds is not allowed.
  • Teams are not to trespass on private property.

We all count.

But we do not!

Good luck everyone!

John Birkett (johnbirkett@hotmail.co.uk). On behalf of RSPB Croydon Local Group.