Sunday, 29 August 2010

Welcome to one of World's most exciting urban migration surveys

Canada Gardens looking south (Russell F Spencer)

Canary Wharf Migrant Bird Project

Last year many of you may have read with interest the report posted on Birdguides ( prepared by Ken Murray and his colleagues about the incredible falls of migrating birds at Canary Wharf. In it Ken recounted the exceptional number of migrants that he and others found in Canada Square Park (at the foot of One Canada Square, Britain’s tallest building) and nearby Jubilee Park. Even more startling was the discovery of a disproportionate number of scarcer migrants and indeed national rarities. Their study covered the period between 2001 – 2006 and results were reliant on the Pyramid lights on One Canada Square being sporadically on and switched off at 1am. The lights, along with the 20 acres of landscaped parks surrounded by waterways, seemed to attract migrants down rather like a humongous lighthouse.

From September 1st until October 31st 2010 this experiment is going to be resurrected under the guise of the Canary Wharf Migrant Bird Project and will be open to all to participate. It could be potentially more intriguing than the previous study because we have been able to get the Pyramid lights on the top of One Canada Square switched on every night throughout the period from midnight until dawn by the kind arrangement courtesy of the Canary Wharf Group plc.

Understandably, considering the location, there will be security considerations. Participants will be given 24 hour access and be issued with permits that will crucially also allow the bearer to take photographs. In the event of a rarity being discovered twitches will be accommodated via the Project organisers. However, please note that any unauthorised birders will be asked to leave the area so it is important to obtain a permit.

This is a truly unique survey that will hopefully shed light on the effects of night lighting, urban parks and bird migration. We are particularly interested in recording the commoner species to gauge the numbers that pass through the area. The whole project is being supported by the RSPB, BTO, Birdguides, Opticron and of course Canary Wharf Group plc.

If you are interested in getting involved please leave a message on this blog.

Canary Wharf Migrant Bird Project