Volunteering – Do you participate?

Do you volunteer? 

If not, would you consider doing so?

I have been volunteering in many guises over the years, but more recently I have become a WeBS counter. This is a survey organised by the BTO (British Trust for Ornithology) which covers a broad spectrum of wetland bird species. The surveys cover a large area of UK wetland habitats, currently approximately 2,300 in number. The counts are carried out by volunteers, who visit the sites through November to March, although some of which are visited all year round.

Yesterday (20th November) was my 2nd visit this season, to a local gravel pit complex where I undertake my count. These counts provide an invaluable dataset for the BTO researchers and it’s yet another good example of citizen science in action. Being a data geek, I look forward to the WeBS reports when they are issued to me as a participant. Over many years, trends become apparent in the statuses of the birds, although I would say too early to find them in my own data. Nevertheless, these trips to the local patch open my eyes as to what is out there to be seen. Furthermore, these additional efforts look good on my CV, in turn allowing further progress towards my career in conservation.

Happy Birding

Tony Powell

5 thoughts on “Volunteering – Do you participate?

  1. Hi Tony! What a great blog post. I am working with WeBS on a project about environmental volunteering, specifically I am talking to counters in Cornwall about their motivations, their patches and the added value of their data and contribution to policy. Please check out this link for more information on the project: http://hilarygeoghegan.wordpress.com/2011/04/26/grant-success-environmental-volunteering/ You’ll also find a post on my blog about the first day in the field: http://hilarygeoghegan.wordpress.com/2011/11/15/day-1-fieldwork-with-the-wetland-bird-survey/ Very warm wishes on this frosty morning, Hilary Geoghegan

  2. Wish I were close enough to volunteer. We get a lot of coastal birds from the Gulf. I can always tell when there is a disturbance in the gulf because we have lots of herons, crains and gulls that settle in the area to wait it out. After Hurricane Katrina and Ike we had birds we had never seen before. Really interesting.

    1. Yes indeed. If an ex Hurricane or the like arrives on our shores, we often get some American or Canadian bird species land on our doorsteps. The intrinsic link between the weather and wildlife is the focus of my website. I hope you stay around and share your tales and I also hope you get to volunteer your services some day in the future.

      Best Wishes

      Tony Powell

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