Many of us feed the birds in our gardens, latest estimate is that we spend 200 to 300 million pounds each year on bird food and this has had a remarkable effect on bird populations. We are used to hearing about the difficult times birds are having, particularly farmland birds, so it is encouraging that gardens are increasingly important for birds and the number of species visiting gardens has increased dramatically over the last 40 years. In the 1970’s bird tables were dominated by house sparrows and starlings but now thanks to the increasing variety of foods available there are many more species, siskin, long tailed tits, woodpeckers, nuthatches to name but a few as well as the more common chaffinches, robins and blue and great tits.
People often ask what the birds are in their gardens and a good way of finding out more is to come to our meetings on the second Monday in the month from September through to April. We start with a call over of sightings of local birds and then a guest speaker entertains and informs us on a subject close to his or her heart. In recent years we have had talks on migration, conservation and reports of visits to exotic locations from northern Norway to Sri Lanka. The talks are always accompanied by digital slides of very high quality. Definitely a good night out! In addition we organise field trips on the third (or fourth) Saturday in the month e.g. to RSPB reserves and other interesting locations, sometimes coastal, where more experienced members can assist with identification of both birds and birdsong.
We meet at the Friends Meeting House at the end of Chapel Row off Matlock Street in Bakewell next to the Methodist Church DE45 1EL. Park in the market square. Our autumn programme commences at 7.30 on Monday September 9th with Nick Martin ‘Secret Wildlife of the Cairngorms’. He reveals some of the special animals and birds of the Scottish Highlands from elusive Pine Marten to cryptic Ptarmigan and finds out how these highland specialists exist in the most remote yet beautiful parts of Scotland. The Cairngorms recently featured in Springwatch.
Why not come to our first meeting and join the group? It’s only £15 per annum and for that you get seven talks and a similar number of field trips. Alternatively it’s £3.00 on the door for non-members. Meetings are listed in the Peak Advertiser and at Bakewell Tourist Information Office, this website, or call 07768 928432.