The Moors for the Future Partnership is asking people to help with a bird survey as they walk in the Peak District uplands.
The organisation wants walkers to keep an eye out for three key moorland species – the swallow, red grouse and curlew – to find out how they are responding to climate change.
The red grouse is seen all year round, often flying out of
heather when disturbed. It is plump, short-legged,
dark brown, with a barking call.
Pictures and descriptions of the birds are provided to help identification, and people are asked to jot down their sightings, with the date and place, on the postcards. They can then submit their records online at http://www.brc.ac.uk/irecord/moors-for-future/bird-postcard, drop them off at the visitor centre, or stick a stamp on the postcard and mail it back.
Gareth Roberts, Community Science Project manager, said: “This data will help make a real difference to national climate change initiatives. We’re appealing to everyone from young families to older walkers to take part. These are simple surveys which most people can do.
“It can add interest to your walk and help us learn how climate change is affecting distribution and numbers of these iconic birds.
The light-brown, speckled curlew is well camouflaged
on moorland. It has a long bill, long legs and a
bubbling ‘curlew’ call.
“For instance, swallows’ migration patterns may change with rising temperatures, red grouse may seek cooler habitats and curlews’ food sources may become scarce. By finding out what is happening we can understand better how to protect them. We’d be really grateful for any help people can give.”
Gareth is running the survey for the rest of the summer and into the autumn, and the survey will be repeated annually.
The Community Science Project aims to involve local people and visitors in moorland conservation through scientific research in the Peak District National Park and South Pennines. It is hoped that local volunteers will be inspired to help look after the environment of their moorlands for the long-term.
Volunteers are also already involved in a bumblebee survey on the moors – find out more at www.moorsforthefuture.org.uk/bumblebee-surveys.
The Community Science Project is supported by the Peak District National Park Authority, Heritage Lottery Fund, Environment Agency, Yorkshire Water, United Utilities, Natural England and the National Trust.