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30th April 2024

Spring Birding in South Ayrshire

As part of our Biosphere Footsteps programme of workshops hosted in Biosphere Communities, the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere held two Spring Bird Workshops this April in Barrhill and Colmonell. These were delivered in partnership with the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) and led by BTO volunteer Jim Galbraith, whose knowledge and experience was fantastic for helping us identify some of the birds in the area. With the birds of South Ayrshire being under-recorded, the BTO is keen to encourage more people to get out and about and help identify and record birds in their local patch.


Birding is a fantastic way to get out into the countryside, and by recording bird species, this citizen science activity helps the BTO to understand trends in bird declines or increases in order to inform conservation efforts. Going for a walk and looking at birds is therefore a great way to help nature!

The BTO has various recording schemes that anyone can get involved with, including Garden Birdwatch (recording birds at your garden feeders), BirdTrack (recording birds out and about) and Breeding Bird Survey (BBS), where you are allocated a 1km square to walk regularly and record the birds.

No knowledge of birds is required to start this hobby, as we are all learning as we go! It is an exciting time for birders as migratory birds are beginning to return, including swallows and house martins, chiffchaffs and blackcaps. In the workshops we looked at common garden birds, and their songs as at this time of year birds are singing to attract mates. Learning some bird songs reveals a whole new world, as you realise how much is going on around you! The warblers look very similar but have different songs so we listened to the birds singing and identified them. In just a short walk in the villages we saw and heard up to 24 different bird species. These included robin, rook, song thrush, nuthatch, willow warbler, chiffchaff, blackcap, chaffinch, blackbird, and of course the wren, which for a tiny bird has a very loud song and they are very common.

Birds are singing around us all the time, so taking a 5 minute break to listen to them and identify a couple of common birds is a great way to learn. Birding is a social occupation and there are many groups and organisations active in the Biosphere, including the Scottish Ornithology Club (SOC), RSPB, WWT and BTO. There are many health benefits to getting outside and connecting with nature. The South Ayrshire Green Health app is a great way to find out about events and opportunities to get outdoors, and helped promote this event.

If you missed these spring bird workshops, you’ve still got the chance to come along to our Bluebells & Birdsong Biosphere Footsteps workshop at the Kirkcolm Community Hub on Sunday 12th May 2pm – 3:30pm. No booking necessary, just come along to learn more about our spring migratory birds and the ecology of bluebells. For more information contact

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