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Latest news
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Friday, July 1st, 2016

Until June of this year we have had 11760 contributions done in the web of the project, so first of all we have to say: thank you! Some of you contribute counting birds of your private gardens, but did you know that you can also report observations of public parks, terraces and balconies?

To select a public park of any city or village and go counting birds is a magnificent activity to do with the family. We ask you to count at least twice a year (the last weekends of January and May), so you can schedule your journeys the way you prefer: when the kids go out of school, the weekends...

Adults and children can learn a lot thanks to this project, because of the proximity that provide the birds that are in gardens and parks and the ease that bring you our web with the drawings of the most frequent species. We encourage you to make diffusion of the project to friends and acquaintance that want get introduced to the birding world or just want to learn a little more of their entourage. 

posted by Abel Julien
Wednesday, May 25th, 2016
REMINDER: Spring Census 2016

Next weekend, May 28 and 29, the OdJ Spring Census 2016 is taking place.

We ask you to count birds sometime during the weekend for an amount of time of your choice but preferably longer than half an hour. As veteran participants already know this is the moment in which all participants count birds at the same time, thus allowing us to get a snapshot of Catalan gardens in a particular moment.

We look forward to your data!

posted by Abel Julien
Monday, March 21st, 2016
Overflying birds: don't count

OdJ gives us a good measure of the birds that use the gardens of our country. One of its goals is to relate the different types of gardens with the bird species that inhabit them, as a result of this and for other reasons related to how we work data, we remind OdJ users that birds overflying the garden or that pass nearby without using it must NOT be recorded. Putting it graphically, in OdJ we must record birds that "touch" our garden.

Overflying birds, whether they are a raptor or a stork in migration, swallows or swifts, must not be recorded if they are flying over. Instead, if we have a Swallow's nest in a cottage or House Martin's nests in the balconies, it is indeed important to record them. We ask all participants to keep in mind these criteria, as specified in the instructions of the project.

Remember also that once we have defined what we consider our garden as our study area, we have to input birds that we see inside there only; we mustn't record birds that we see in our neighbour's garden or nearby.

Thank you for your cooperation

posted by Abel Julien
Thursday, February 25th, 2016
About the results of the Winter Census 2016

A series of just two years is too short to make any comparative analysis but it is is interesting or at least eye catching to do the exercise of watching what birds have been reported in more or less frequency from one year to the next.

If we take into account what birds change their relative frequency in gardens, that is, not the totals but in how many censused gardens they appear, we see some species that show differences in the two years.

Less detected in 2016 than in 2015 (downwards trend)

Pied Wagtail            -7%
Black Redstart       -15,4%
Blackbird                -8,6%
Blackcap                -15,2%

More detected in 2016 than in 2015 (upwards trend)

Blue Tit                  +9,1%
Collared Dove        +10,3%
Magpie                   +12,5%
Serin                      +6,8%
Greenfinch              +3,5%

Was it like this in your garden? Have you seen less Black Redstarts o Blackcaps? Have you seen more Blue Tits or Magpies? Check out if the general trends match those that you have observed locally in your garden. This will probably be like this in wintering birds that have been affected by this mild winter we have had most of the time in Catalonia.

The Blackcap, a bird that has showed up much less in the Winter Census 2016 (Photo: Jordi Bas)

posted by Abel Julien
Thursday, February 4th, 2016
48% increase in participants of the 2016 Winter Census

Last week-end was that of the 2016 Winter Census of Ocells dels Jardins with 74 participants, 48% more than those of 2015. It is then an increase that shows the growing interest in the project.

Taking the data of the whole week, since some schools did the census during the working week, a total of 1.405 bird observations were made and a total of 6.336 individual birds were counted. The number of species reached 65 and that of censused gardens was 90. The following table shows these data in comparison with the same period in 2015.

                                 2015          2016         % increase
Observations             1.144         1.405         22,8
Birds censused          5.632         6.336         12,5
Species                         45             65          44,4
Participants                    50             74          48
Gardens                        62             90          45,2
Censuses                     159           180          13,2
Municipalities                  39            53          35,9
Comarcas                      21            23            9,5

All figures show an increase that will allow us to better know the state of urban birds in our country. However, the territorial distribution was irregular, as can be seen in the figure below. The comarcas with greater participation have been Barcelonès, Vallès Occidental, Vallès Oriental i Osona, with a good participation also of the comarcas in Girona and Tarragona; on the opposite side, in the interior and west, many areas remained uncovered.

A total of 1.104 House Sparrows were counted and, maybe more suprisingly, 401 Blue Tits and 381 Great Tits in the 180 censuses carried out. The House Sparrow, in spite of the decrease of its populations in the whole of Europe, is still de commonest species living among us.

All in all, with the 2016 Winter Census we have obtained a good snapshot of the birds of gardens and parks of most of Catalonia and we can't do anything else but thank all those who have sent in observations and encourage the rest of OdJ users to do it in the forthcoming censuses.

Thank you so much!

posted by Abel Julien
Tuesday, January 26th, 2016
Remember: January 30 and 31 is the Winter Census 2016 weekend!

Next weekend, January 30 and 31, is the key weekend for Ocells dels Jardins: the Winter Census!

Can you spare at least 30 minutes to help us study the birds of our closest environment? Ocells dels Jardins is a project that investigates bird populations in private or public gardens and is useful to discover what factor affect their survival in this environment which, in spite of being artificial, is part of birds' lifes as much as it is of ours.

In the Winter Census it is only necessary to count the birds in your garden for a while anytime during the weekend. It's easy, fun and appropriate for begginners, experts, photographers and feeder watchers. If you already participate in the project, you can help us by encouraging your friends to cooperate, so that they can contribute to the knowledge of how urban birds face the winter. Particularly this year, with the highest temperatures for years, we are likely to find out different patterns.

We wait for you!

posted by Abel Julien
Monday, January 11th, 2016
Winter census 2016: 30 and 31 January

The week-end in which we ask OdJ collaborators to input observations at any time during those days is getting closer.

It will be on January 30 and 31. Set some time apart!

posted by Abel Julien
Tuesday, January 5th, 2016
The garden for birds

A garden is always beautiful as far our aesthetic tastes are concerned but the users of Ocells del Jardins know that if it is full of birds the garden is much more interesting; that's why many of us set feeders and nest boxes or plant vegetation that we think can be attractive for birds, either as food, shelter, breeding place or other use.

It is interesting to know what plants are the most interesting ones for birds and a French study has drawn our attention in relation to a creeper of the genus Parthenocissus which produces a sort of berries that are eagerly consumed by garden birds. The author explains that the Black Redstart feasts on those berries extensively from October to February, in a fiery competence with the Blackcap, which often is a dominant species in feeders.

In the study, it was calculated that each Black Redstart ate between 50 and 100 berries a day when it was cold but would moderate their consumption when temperatures rose. This means around 20-40 g. a day per birds, that is, roughly the same body weight of the bird or more.

This plant is also widely used in gardening in Catalonia. In the Parc del Francolí of the city of Tarragona, we can find it in some pergolas where Black Redstarts, Blackcaps, Robins, Mediterranean Warblers, Stonechats, Blackbirds and Starlings share this food source, not without some quarreling.

Blackcap feeding on Parthenocissus berries in the Parc del Francolí, Tarragona (photo: Raül Aymí).

posted by Abel Julien
Friday, October 23rd, 2015
Ths show starts now!

We have already left the Summer and the first part of Autumn behind, when our gardens were quite boring. Winter is coming soon and for those who are fond of garden birds, this is the high season, as if it were the ski season.

In Spring and Summer birds had changed their behaviour a great deal to dedicate themselves with devotion to the task of rising as many nestlings as it may have been possible. In addition, their feeding habits turned to a mainly insectivorous feeding and this has kept them away from our feeders, in which we usually offer them a different kind of food. But as soon as Autumn started they began to visit us more often, accompanied by young birds on brownier, duller colours.

Now, in the end of October, common garden birds start to get closer to us in search of food and shelter in a more perceptible way than in previous months. Despite it is not very cold, they start to be friendlier to us than before (a self-interested friendship, by the way) and in the forthcoming weeks we will witness the arrival of many birds from Central and Northern Europe, ready to spend the Winter by the Mediterranean basin; depending on how weather contidions in those latitudes are, the arrival of birds can be of variable importance but no matter how cold it is, we expect the arrival of millions of birds.

So, stay alert and fill the feeders: the show starts now!

posted by Abel Julien
Thursday, July 2nd, 2015
ORNITHO, Best Citizen Science Project!

"El Temps", the magazine about political and cultural topics of the Catalan Countries, has awarded the Prize to the Best Citizen Science Project to ORNITHO, the leading citizen science project of the Catalan Ornithological Institut.

We are very proud that this has been possible thanks to the collaboration of the thousands of birding aficionados who participate in our programmes like ORNITHO, Ocells dels Jardins, Orenetes, Nius and others. To all of you: thank you so much!

You can read the whole story and know all the details here

posted by Abel Julien
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