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All aboard the skylark – help record bird sightings

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Stroud Valleys Project, in conjunction with the National Trust, are asking local people to become citizen scientists throughout the spring, to help conservationists understand the health of the skylark population on Rodborough Common.

Walkers are being invited to record sightings of skylarks during their regular walks on the Common during April, May, and June.  Male skylarks are easy to spot as they undertake prolonged song flights to mark the territory surrounding their nests (which are on the ground) to other males.  This provides a good indication of where they might be nesting, without the need to look for nests on the ground, which would be potentially damaging to the birds.   Their distinctive song is a definite sign of spring and can be heard here: https://www.british-birdsongs.uk/sky-lark/  

This iconic bird, along with many other farmland bird species, has suffered severe declines over recent decades and is particularly vulnerable to dogs, walkers, and cyclists due to its habit of nesting on the ground.  Stroud Valleys Project CEO Clare Mahdiyone said: “This is why it is so important for us to understand how the skylarks on Rodborough Common are faring, and we are hoping that local people will enjoy getting involved in helping do this. The information collected will help to understand the best ways that the birds can be protected, and their nesting grounds cared for in future years.”

Participation could not be easier; all volunteers will need to do is contact Stroud Valleys Project to request an invitation to the survey, download the iRecord smartphone app and record any sightings of birds along their path when they see them during their regular walks or exercise. If they don’t have a smartphone, spotters can collect a paper form from the Stroud Valleys Project eco-shop in Threadneedle Street, or an email copy can be requested.

Anyone interested in being involved can email Stroud Valleys Project Officer Sharon Gardham at sharon@stroudvalleysporject.org.  Stroud Valleys Project will then provide full instructions of how to spot the skylarks and how to record sightings using the app or the paper form.

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