Bird survey report – winter 2015/16

The results of the recent bird survey are in and have thrown up some interesting trends and information. The Grounds Office commission two surveys a year which are undertaken by our RSPB recommended expert to document the number and species of birds found on our Streatham and St Luke’s Campuses. This enables us to track the impact of any works being undertaken.

The total number of birds recorded in the winter 2015/16 survey (November 2015 and January 2016), has declined from 1733 in the baseline survey of 2008/09 to 1302 in 2015/16.

There may be several factors influencing this outcome:

  1. A decline in bird populations across the UK
  2. Loss of habitat
  3. Changes in weather patterns

The weather has an impact on both resident and migrant birds. The drivers have been temperatures and the availability of food. Some birds will move into gardens, where many residents will put out food for birds and wildlife in winter.

The University is constantly evolving and development works can disturb habitats. However, provision is made to encourage wildlife diversity in the landscapes available when building works are completed and to protect habitats beyond standard planning requirements e.g. tree and hedgerow protection.

The most common birds on Streatham Campus remain the Wood Pigeon, Robin, Blackbird, Blue Tit and Great Tit. The estate continues to support bird species which are rare and on the list of red/amber species e.g. Herring Gull, House Sparrow, Mistle Thrush, Redwing and Song Thrush. Raptors such as the Buzzard and Sparrowhawk have also been recorded. In January a Blackcap, suspected to have travelled from Europe in search of food, was also seen.

On Luke’s Campus, the most common birds were the Blue Tit, Herring Gull and Blackbird, with the Wood Pigeon less common. Overall there had been a drop from 20 species in 2014/15 to 17 species in 2015/16 but a rise in sightings from 199 in 2014/15 to 217 in 2015/16. The new species included the red listed species Starling, with the amber listed species Dunnock also being recorded. Great Spotted Woodpeckers and Long-Tailed Tits were seen for the first time at St Luke’s.

Overall, both our campuses continue to be an important habitat for birds. We invest in management and protection measures to enhance the resource.

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