Once again, the traditional Isle of Man Christmas Bird Race will be held during the seven days between Christmas Day and the New Year. It’s a race with a difference. Birdwatchers of all abilities and expertise can head out across the Island to record as many different species of birds as possible during the festive period. Neil Morris of ManxBirdLife tells us more:
The Christmas Bird Race started in 2011. It has proven hugely popular ever since. However, it isn’t a competition between individual birdwatchers or groups of birdwatchers. It is a community-wide collaborative effort, running from Christmas Day to New Year’s Eve during which the aim is for birdwatchers collectively to discover and report as many wild bird species as possible across the Isle of Man.
Waxwing (above) and main header image of Twite by Neil G Morris
The bird race has become a bit of a Christmas fixture. It’s a bit of festive fun and a great excuse to venture outdoors at a time when most of us are tempted to put our feet up indoors and watch too much television.
Everyone can participate and send in their sightings, from expert birdwatchers to beginners alike, individuals, families and groups. You can birdwatch for as many or as few hours as you wish.
The Christmas Bird Race rules are simple:
- Sightings can be reported from the seven-day period running from the start of Christmas Day to the end of New Year’s Eve (00:00 on 25th December to 24:00 on 31st December);
- You can spend as little or as much time as you wish looking for birds on your own, with your family or in groups anywhere on the Island;
- Sightings must be of birds seen on, above or around the Isle of Man within Manx territorial waters;
- This race is just for fun – there are no prizes! The aim is to beat the record tally of 116 species recorded in both 2020's and 2018’s Christmas Bird Races.
Sightings can be submitted to Manx BirdLife through any of the following methods:
- Online at www.manxbirdlife.im/sightings/submit-your-sightings;
- Completing and returning the handy Christmas Bird Race Recording Sheet available at www.manxbirdlife.im/sightings/christmas-bird-race, which is free for everyone to download;
- Twitter @ManxBirdLife using #ManxBirdRace;
- Manx BirdLife’s Facebook page.
You are asked to include your name, the dates and places of your sightings, the species and the number of each you saw, and a note of any interesting activities or behaviours you noticed.
Please take care. Always check the weather conditions before you go out and ensure you are dressed appropriately.
Egret (above) by Neil G Morris
Do remember when taking part that the welfare of birds and other wildlife is important. And most of all, have fun. The team at Manx BirdLife look forward to collating all your sightings.
The big question is, will we break the current record of 116 species?