Beale Park reaches a tremendous milestone in its “Bird Ringing” conservation initiative

Posted by Jane Chapman on 04/09/2015

Beale Park’s Bird Department, at Lower Basildon in Berkshire, has reached a tremendous milestone in its “Bird Ringing” conservation initiative – they have just rung their 10,000th bird.

The Park’s ringing conservation initiative, run in conjunction with the British Trust of Ornithology (BTO), aims to understand what is happening to birds in the places they live and how it affects population increases and decreases. This knowledge is vital for conservation. It also provides information on the movements individual birds make and how long they live for.

The process and data collected by the Park includes ageing and sexing, measuring and weighing the bird, as well as popping a metal ring on its leg complete with a unique identification number. All this information is then passed onto the BTO who collate the statistics from ringing schemes across Britain and Ireland.

Curator, Dave Colessaid, “We are absolutely delighted to have rung our 10,000th bird. The Park started this initiative back in 1999 and to date we have recorded seventy-seven different species. The data collected will be forwarded to the British Trust of Ornithology (BTO) to assist with their national audit, which helps to monitor and track trends in the well-being of the UK bird population.”

Dave continued, “Such work is vital to maintain the health of native species, and we were particularly pleased to have collected data from a Red Kite and a Great Crested Grebe.”

This report follows the earlier success of the Park’s “Nest Box Building Days” which ran during the February half term as part the BTO’s National Nest Box Week Campaign.

During this time, the Park encouraged visitors to build a bird a home for their own gardens. Dave said, “The initiative has grown year-on-year and it was good to see so many people enthuse over the wildlife around them.”

All of the hard work that Dave and his team has put into these initiatives has just got even more exciting, as Beale Park recently announced that it is working on a new educational project called, ‘Go Wild for Water’, thanks to some generous funding from Thames Water.

In just over a year’s time, with the help of this funding, the Park will unveil an area which will be home to a purpose built education centre, pond dipping stations and a boardwalk pathway allowing visitors, schools and community groups to journey through this new space and enjoy the reed bed and marshland areas that are home to so many unique species.

The new education hub will help the Park to make strides in conservation education and will be a brilliant learning experience for any pre-school, primary or secondary school to visit. Community groups will also be welcome to book classroom or self-led experience. All sessions will be curriculum led, with interpretation signs to accompany learning.

Beale Park is committed to the conservation of rare, endangered and native species and believes that the protection of these animals, plants and ecosystems is of vital importance. The new centre will help the Park to educate visitors that by caring for, looking after and being responsible for our own actions, we are able to contribute to species and habitat survival both on a local and global scale.