Science & Environment

BBC wildlife survey asks commuters to record sightings

Peregrine falcon (Image: AP)
Image caption In recent years, peregrine falcons have set up homes in an increasing number of towns and cities

Workers are being encouraged to make a note of the wildlife they encounter during their daily commutes.

Described as the first nationwide survey of its kind, BBC Wildlife Magazine is asking people to send in details of birds and animals they see.

It is also keen to receive details or photographs of people's memorable wildlife encounters.

The magazine plans to publish the results from the survey in a special report later in the year.

"It is not a comprehensive, scientific survey, but hopefully it will cast a light and help illuminate where our wildlife is and how it exists," explained James Fair, the magazine's environment editor.

He added that it was not necessary for people to have a detailed knowledge of birds and animals in order to take part.

"If someone knows that the bird they have seen is a juvenile, male great spotted woodpecker, then that's great as well," he told BBC News.

"But if someone else just sees a woodpecker in a tree next to the pub, that is great too."

"What we really want is to encourage people who do not usually record or talk about their wildlife sightings."

'Urban birder'

People can submit their sightings by using the form in the magazine, or visiting BBC Wildlife's website or emailing the details to the editorial team.

Image caption The survey's organisers are keen to receive details of all encounters, even common species like pigeons

Respondents will be asked to list the species they have seen, in what region of the UK they spotted the creatures, and what mode of transport they were using - e.g. car or train.

"We're particularly keen to hear from people in urban and suburban areas to find out what unexpected wildlife is living in and around our towns and city streets," Mr Fair added.

"Don't worry if you're mostly seeing pigeons, squirrels or other common species though - wherever you go, whatever you spot, we want to hear from you."

Writing in the magazine, self-declared "urban birder" David Lindo encouraged people to look upwards during their trip to work.

"One winter's morning a few years ago, I detoured to see about 150 waxwings feeding on rowan berries," he recalled.

"Masses of commuters marched past on their way to work, totally oblivious to these gorgeous Scandinavian visitors."

Mr Fair said that he planned to publish the results from the survey later in the year.

"We are going to try and tease out things from the information we receive, such as the most common species," he suggested.

He added that he hoped the survey would become an annual fixture to help build up a picture of how the ecological landscape changes over the years.

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