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Post Info TOPIC: Species in focus - Reed Bunting

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RE: Species in focus - Reed Bunting

Timing is important in confirming breeding for many species and a summary of the data for the first three years of our ongoing breeding birds' atlas project seems to suggest that the optimum time for Reed Bunting is fast approaching. nod.gifbiggrin.gif Confirmation of breeding for this species was most commonly obtained by two methods - sightings of adults carrying food (code FF) or by sightings of adults with recently fledged, dependent young (code FL).

Those FF coded records were noted between the following dates:-

25/5/08 - 16/7/08

23/5/09 - 12/7/09

18/5/10 - 19/7/10

June was noticeably the peak month, with 70% of all such records.

Those FL coded records were noted between the following dates:-

28/6/08 - 13/7/08

31/5/09 - 1/8/09

20/6/10 - 7/8/10

July was noticeably the peak month, with 64% of all such records.

FF records are double the number of FL records, so it would suggest that this method is by far the easiest to confirm breeding.

Some progress was made in 2010, with an increase in the total number of tetrads with confirmed breeding for this species rising from 32 to 50. However, this figure of 50 is still only 38% of the number of tetrads (130) in which it was confirmed at the time of our last local breeding birds atlas survey, which was undertaken between 1979 and 1983. Has it really declined by so much in Greater Manchester since then? confuse.gif Let's have one final big push over the next few months to try and log those tetrads in which the Reed Bunting is not only present but also breeding. All records - be it of possible, probable or confirmed breeding will be most welcome. Good luck and just in case we need a quick refresher on what evidence is required to allocate particular sightings to one of these three categories, then this can be found at
http://www.bto.org/volunteer-surveys/birdatlas/taking-part/breeding-evidence. Your records as usual can be input at the usual web address, which once again is http://www.bto.org/volunteer-surveys/birdatlas


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Posts: 1024

Steve S mentioned Reed Bunting amongst other several species in his "Tip of the week" thread dated July 21st. reading.gif Might it be a good time to have a look at this bunting in a little more detail?

So why is it that the male Reed Bunting, with his extremely smart but subtle breeding plumage can only seem to summon up enough energy to produce what might possibly be the drabbest song sing.gif of any of our commoner breeding birds in GM! Still it is a relatively easy and distinctive one to learn and this song, which can by and large be heard throughout a good part of the breeding season, certainly helps us fairly easily locate those males which are trying to establish or hold territories. So where are we to look for this species? A quick browse through any of the most recent GM county bird reports would show that this species is quite widely, if somewhat fairly thinly distributed across our recording area. Whilst the mosslands, moorlands and wetlands appear to be its preferred habitat, it really is sometimes quite surprising looking at the records where this species can actually turn up!

BBGM estimated the population to be about 1800 pairs and whilst we must wait some years for full results from our latest atlas project, this is still a fairly common resident species in GM. So how were those all important statistics looking at the halfway stage of our current atlas project? Well, not too rosy actually! thumbsdown.gif It had been confirmed as breeding in just 32 tetrads out of the 330 or so and this total represents only 25% of the final number of confirmed breeding records logged at the end of the BBGM. Positive momentum is definitely being generated as we look to accumulate more records and thankfully the hard graft of many birders and atlasers over the first two summers of the GM Breeding Birds Atlas project has certainly helped lift the number of confirmed breeding records of this species to much better levels. In general terms the number of confirmed breeding records doubled between a pre-atlas 2007 and the first year of the atlas (2008) and the 2009 figure again has doubled over that of the preceding year. Good news indeed thumbsup.gif but we still need to try to keep this momentum going throughout what remains of the 2010 breeding season and equally importantly into 2011.

Again, this is one of our later breeding species with recent years reporting confirmed breeding records into August. Nests are usually located at or fairly close to ground level. So if you see a Reed Bunting in suitable breeding habitat at low level and it appears to be "loitering" - try and take a moment to have a closer look and you may be fortunate enough to see that it is carrying insect food. Like many species it will understandably be reluctant to enter the nest site whilst you - a possible threat - are in the vicinity. These extra few seconds, when you can usually observe the bird perched, should give just enough time to clinch that all important confirmed breeding record! Young are fed and cared for by both parents, so be sure to look at all adult birds. Young are thought to remain dependent on the adults for around 20 days or so after leaving the nest, so also keep a look out for family parties, where the young are still clearly reliant on Mum and Dad for protection and to help keep their bellies full! hungry.gif

Good luck with your bunting hunting!biggrin.gif


-- Edited by Bill Myerscough on Friday 23rd of July 2010 09:07:34 AM

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