Spotted Flycatcher tracking project - help needed

Posted June 13th, 2016 at 9:16 am

We need your help in locating spotted flycatcher nests in Devon to contribute to a new project.

Spotted flycatchers have seen declines of 83% since the 1960s. Reasons for this decline may include factors operating within UK breeding grounds, such as reduced availability of invertebrates, but the species may also be declining due to problems along their migratory journey to Africa and back. But we still know almost nothing about their wintering grounds, we don't even know where UK birds go or the routes they take. It is possible they go as far as South Africa like our swallows, but we don't know. We need this information if we are to begin to understand what part of the annual cycle causes problems for spotted flycatchers, and where we might need to focus future work to reverse declines. To do this we are conducting some pioneering work that will track migrations and determine wintering areas using tiny tracking devises. These geolocators weigh only 0.36g - incredible!

But to be able to do this we need to catch and tag spotted flycatchers in places where they return each year, as we need to recapture tagged birds the year after to retrieve the tag and its data. The best places to do this are peoples gardens. So if you have nesting spotted flycatchers in your garden or farm in Devon, and are happy to have your spotted flycatchers captured and tagged for this project, please could you email emma.inzani@rspb.org.uk or give me a call on 07876737372.

Emma Inzani, RSPB Research Assistant