Birdwatching for beginners

Do you know what birds visit your garden? Would you like to find out more about our feathered friends, and play an important part in gathering information on the birds we have living in our area?

As part of the Mid Ulster Biodiversity Project, “Birdwatching for Beginners” events have been organised to introduce people to the birds they are most likely to see in their garden or local park.

These ‘Birdwatching for Beginners’ events will be at: Cabin Wood, Cookstown, on Wednesday 23rd January (meet at car park) at 10am; Dungannon Park on Friday 25th January (meet at Fishing Lodge) at 10am; Polepatrick Park, Magherafelt, on Saturday 26th January (meet at car park) at 10am.

You do not need any specialist knowledge or equipment, but this is an outdoor event so please wear appropriate clothing, and although not essential, a pair of binoculars would be an advantage.

Mark Edgar, Biodiversity Officer for the Mid Ulster area explained, “Most people love to see birds, whether out for a walk, or looking out the window into their garden. We know gardens are a valuable habitat for a wide variety of species, including birds, but just how important they are can only be assessed by knowing what is there. Every record of any birds visiting your garden will help build a better picture of how our local birds are faring.”

To help establish what wildlife is to be found in our local areas, Biodiversity Officers across Northern Ireland have joined together to encourage local people to record the species they see in their own garden or local park. This is part of the “Biodiversity Games” recording project which is supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund, ‘Your Heritage’ Programme, which aims to get people involved in helping their local biodiversity and to ‘Get Recording’.

Mark continued, “We are asking people to spend a few minutes watching and taking a note of the birds they see in their gardens. Then let us know what they find. It is possible that at least a few people will turn up something from their area that we do not have records for.”

Everyone is welcome to come along and learn about the birds they are most likely to see in their area. Join us for a walk around the park to see how many, and what species of bird we see on the day. How will this compare with what you find in your own garden?

For further information on these events, or if you are interested in the Mid Ulster Biodiversity Project in general, Mark would be delighted to hear from you. Please contact: Mark Edgar, Biodiversity Officer, Cookstown, Magherafelt and Dungannon & South Tyrone councils. Please telephone relevant council, or Mob: 07717732034 or e-mail: