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Birds

Many of our members enjoy bird watching in the North East and learning more about bird behaviour and identification. Our Bird Group also carries out important research work through a very active bird ringing group and is involved in bird conservation work in Northumberland, Tyne and Wear and County Durham.

Water Rail juvenile, GPNR © Mark Bowen

To see forthcoming talks, field trips and activities organised by our Bird Group please click here. All Society members are very welcome to come along to these friendly events, whether you are a beginner or an expert. As well as birds we do also see other wildlife and local flora!

If you are interested in learning more about birds then why not join one of our popular bird identification courses? These 10 week courses are a mixture of field outings and classroom sessions held at either the Great North Museum: Hancock or Durham City. Click here for more details.

In partnership with the National Trust, we produce and publish an annual report on the birds of the Farne Islands (part of our Northumbrian Naturalist journal).

Our Bird Group is led by Chris Redfern but we are looking for additional people to get more involved and help us to plan, organise or run field trips and talks for Society members. If you would like to give us a hand then we would love to hear from you, please get in contact with us via the Society Office.

Bird Ringing

Our very active Bird Ringing Group carries out constant-effort ringing at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve in Newcastle on Sundays from April-August.

Ringing group with Kestrel, GPNR © NHSN

The Group also carries out seabird ringing on the Farne Islands during spring and members catch and ring migrants at Low Newton in Northumberland during the autumn. To find out more about our bird ringing group please click here.

Lindisfarne National Nature Reserve

The Joint Advisory Panel advises Natural England on the issues that affect the site and its important wildlife. The Society representative on the Advisory Panel is Graham Bell. The Wildfowl Panel is concerned with the wildfowling activity within the National Nature Reserve: it monitors the conduct of wildfowlers through the Wildfowl Warden and keeps records of the numbers of birds arriving and departing from the reserve. The Society representative on the Wildfowl Panel is David Noble-Rollin.

Coquet Island Advisory Committee

Roseate Tern, Coquet Island

The Society was instrumental in the establishment of the Coquet Island Reserve and has participated in the Advisory Committee since its inception. In 2014 the RSPB (leaseholders since the reserve was formed) renewed the lease and re-affirmed commitment to local participation in the Advisory Committee. To make the operation of the Committee more efficient, Terms of Reference have been revised to reduce the number of representatives of the Society and Northumberland Wildlife Trust from 2 each to 1 each. This reflects the increasingly important advisory role of Natural England, and in maintaining input from the National Trust so that experience in island conservation management can be shared. Protection of the Roseate Tern colony remains a priority for the reserve, and key management issues for the future are vegetation control (to maximise seabird breeding success) and maintaining biodiversity with respect to the contribution of large gulls as a breeding species. The Society representative is Dr Chris Redfern.

Tyne Kittiwakes Partnership

The Partnership is currently chaired by James Littlewood from the Society. In recent years we have contributed towards the aim of safeguarding the colonies along the River Tyne by organising Kittiwake watching at Newcastle Quayside, producing and distributing a leaflet about the birds, organising a seminar at the Great North Museum: Hancock, talking at conferences and events and generating media interest, including on BBC One, and creating a webpage for the Partnership. To find out more about the work of  the Tyne Kittiwakes Partnership please click here.

Bird Boxes

Family making bird box at NHSN workshop at Moorbank Garden March 2013 cropWe run bird box making workshops for families at the Great North Museum: Hancock in Newcastle during February and October half-terms and we can also run these workshops on request at other events.

We run a bird box monitoring scheme at Gosforth Park Nature Reserve which contributes to a national data collection programme co-ordinated by the British Trust for Ornithology. We maintain around 60 boxes which are monitored each year, mainly for tits but also Tawny Owl.

Philip Hanmer has been carrying out excellent work installing boxes for birds of prey around Northumberland and monitoring these for conservation purposes. He has become something of an expert nest box builder and has kindly given us his designs to share so that you can make your own:

Click here for Tawny Owl/Duck box designs.

Click here for Little Owl box design.

Click here for Barn Owl box design.

Click here for sparrows, tits and redstarts box design.