HS2 Community Environment Fund logo

Thermal Birding
Awarded: £10,000

Region: West Midlands

West Midlands Ringing Group is a voluntary group located in Meriden, Solihull.

The project provided thermal imaging equipment to monitor Marsh Lane Nature Reserve and the surrounding area for bird species such as lapwing, woodcock and skylark. Birds were also tagged so that their migration routes, breeding success and longevity could be observed. This has enabled West Midlands Ringing Group to survey local wildlife in the most effective way so that they can plan habitat improvements to encourage those species to the nature reserve.

The project has also provided opportunities for members of the local community to be involved. Training has been provided on thermal imaging technology and wildlife survey techniques and now volunteers are able to complete accurate records for West Midlands Ringing Group. They have also delivered community events such as dawn chorus walks and bird ringing demonstrations. These have been well attended and have enabled the community to experience and appreciate the wildlife at the nature reserve. Work parties at the reserve have also been well attended by volunteers and visitors who have worked to improve the habitats on the site and, as a result, they have seen an increase in nesting birds and lapwing breeding. The community events have also enabled visitors to learn new skills, become more confident with handling wild birds, meet new people and build friendships.

“We want to include the community in what we do by giving them the opportunity to improve habitat for these species that will provide better feeding and nesting habitats, creating a positive legacy for HS2. The community also get to experience birds up close, in the hand, which allows us to educate people on the bird’s key ID features that in turn will provide better data for national surveys.”

Ben Dolan, Thermal Ornithology Specialist at West Midlands Ringing Group