BTO Nest Recording Scheme (NRS) – surveying nests for research

BTO Nest Recording Scheme (NRS) – surveying nests for research

This is the second year I have been taking part in the BTO (British Trust for Ornithology) Nest Recording Scheme (NRS), surveying the 35 nest boxes that I am responsible for checking on the shores of Chew Valley Lake. You have to survey and record what you find in terms of whether the nest boxes are empty, partially lined, fully lined, eggs warm, eggs cold, adult on nest, chicks etc.

As I am also a trainee ringer, I also ring the pulli (the scientific work for chick) but it has to be when they are old enough but not old enough to try and fly out. So long as you follow all the regulations and have someone experienced with you, and are careful, there is virtually no chance of injuring the chicks.
Training to get your full “C” Licence for ringing is pretty tough as you have to know a lot about bird ID before you can even start and then have to learn a lot about bird ringing safety and the technical aspect of extracting birds, ringing them and how to assess details such as age and sex of birds that look the same. If you have a couple of years to give to it, then it is very worthwhile. I do think that the BTO need to do work to make ringing more inclusive.

These photos are from last night, before going out to see a band in Bristol for my 15th birthday (which was yesterday). The first two photos are a Great Tit pulli (chick) which were pretty early for Great Tit and the last two are of a Dunnock pulli. It’s quite delicate work ringing pulli, but great for me with my smaller hands.

This is an early Dunnock Pulli I ringed on 27 April 2017 from one of my nest boxes.

Young Birder Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig ringing a Dunnock Pulli at Chew Valley Lake
Photograph taken by and copyright Chris Craig
Young Birder Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig ringing a Great Tit Pulli at Chew Valley Lake
Photograph taken by and copyright Chris Craig
Young Birder Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig ringing a Dunnock Pulli at Chew Valley Lake
Photograph taken by and copyright Chris Craig
Young Birder Mya-Rose Birdgirl Craig ringing a Dunnock Pulli at Chew Valley Lake
Photograph taken by and copyright Chris Craig

About The Author

Hi, I’m Dr. Mya-Rose Craig. I am a 19-year-old prominent British-Bangladeshi ornithologist, environmentalist, diversity activist as well as an author, speaker and broadcaster. At age 11 I started the popular blog Birdgirl, and at age 17 I became the youngest person to see half of the birds in the world.

Buy My Book

Lyrical, poignant and insightful.’ - Margaret Atwood

This is my story; a journey defined by my love for these extraordinary creatures. Because large or small, brown, patterned or jewelled, there is something about birds that makes us, even for just moments at a time, lift our eyes away from our lives and up to the skies.

Lyrical, poignant and insightful.’ - Margaret Atwood

This is my story; a journey defined by my love for these extraordinary creatures. Because large or small, brown, patterned or jewelled, there is something about birds that makes us, even for just moments at a time, lift our eyes away from our lives and up to the skies.

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To find out more about working with me or to buy my book, please use the links below.

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Sexism in nature conservation – Part 2

Sexism in nature conservation – Part 2

Since I wrote my first blog post on 2nd December 2015 http://birdgirluk.blogspot.co.uk/2015/12/letter-to-bbc-wildlife-magazine-on.html, I have had lots of support. I really appreciate all of this; on Facebook Groups, my Facebook Page, Twitter and comments on my Blog.

Some of the advice has been given with really good intentions but without a real understanding of the issues for girls like me. Some people said that I should just appreciate how lucky I am to go on great birding trips (which I do), I should not worry about getting recognition (even though I only want recognition for what I and other girls achieve), I should stop blogging or having a presence on social media as that will stop the bullying (the bullying started way before I started my blog), that if I stopped trying to engage with people I would no longer feel let down and everything will be OK. So basically all these problems have happened because I tried to have a public profile and brought it upon myself. I think this is genuinely what a lot of birders think, believing that they have a modern outlook.

Some people did say “bullying is bad” but didn’t actually say “I’m sorry that happened to you” before being critical. Someone went further to tweet that the young birders group which they were a member was not involved. Despite messaging to say this was not true she didn’t correct herself. If someone doesn’t want to support me, unless are being rude to me, I don’t care. But do I have to ignore things that are untrue?

Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig birding in Somerset
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

Sometimes I do think about stopping it all, but I realise that all the backlash will carry on even if I stopped birding, ringing, talks, conservation projects, blogging and my social media accounts. Then all that would happen is that all these people (as women can be sexist too) would be saying “I told you she wasn’t really interested in birding, it was her parents forcing birding on her and I knew she would stop in her teens”.

The 50 were chosen by the magazine’s advisory panel of 30 middle-aged men (or older) and 2 women (again older) and ‘other’ experts. I would like to know who the other experts were and whether there were more men than women. The result was that only 12 out of 50 chosen were women, with 2 out of the top 10 being women. Jane Goodall was number one, but no one can argue with that? How can that be accurate, with so many women involved in the conservation sector? Was the outcome because it was men who voted or was it because women are not recognised for what they do? Maybe because they don’t shout about what they are doing as much as men? I think next time, they could try to focus on coming up with female names, who are as good and powerful as the men.

This month Birdwatching Magazine featured an article “Bird Watching, The Next Generation – Meet the young birders making a difference” which was in conjunction with the BTO. On the front page was a teenage girl looking through a telescope, which looked promising. First a 4 page article by 24 year old wildlife photographer Luke Massey on a trip back to his roots in France.

Then a 6 page article from the BTO’s Ieuan Evans on how young birders can get involved with BTO and other projects (great, I have been ringing and doing nest box surveys for 4 over years). On page 1 was a photo of a girl ringing and on page 6 one of a young boy birding. It’s good to have the photo of a girl but it would have much better if a woman from the BTO had written the piece. The BTO has lots of capable women.

Then a ½ page article by Findley Wilde age 13 year old on his concerns on conservation.

Then finally, a 4 page article by Nicola Boulton about working as a wildlife guide and photographer in Western Scotland.

So of the articles, 1 out of 4 are written by a woman. It was good that there were two photos of girls birding and ringing but this is bit shallow if they are not given the chance to write.

Then there are a number of young people, under the heading “One to Watch”. I know most of them and they are great birders in influential in our field. I am not saying that they didn’t deserve to be listed but I don’t think they are the only possible people that could have been included in this category. There was only 1 girl out of 7 people. This is my main issue. Were these people chosen by the BTO or the magazine? There are lots of amazing young female birders/ringers out there and I think this was a missed opportunity to showcase more of them. I know from Twitter that the magazine certainly was told about lots of them.

 

Sorrell Lyall,  Nathan Burch,  Alex White, Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig, Billy Stockwell
at The Wildlife Trusts Every Child Wild Podcast on how to get young people into nature

Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

Additional comments
There are situations where even if there isn’t
actual sexism, there is an inequality between men and women in birding and nature
conservation.
Are the number of women who come into our field
impacted by the fact that it appears to be dominated by men?
Would there be more women taking up the hobby, if
women were more visible?

Birdwatch Magazine Birders’ Choice Awards 2015
Again I personally have a good relationship with the magazine and so my comments are not meant to be taken personally by them or anyone who won.


Birdwatch Magazine announced their awards in October 2015 and anyone could vote online.
Four categories were for people:

Conservation hero of the year – Choice of 5/5 men
Local hero – to be nominated by voters
Blog of the year – Choice of 4 men/2 women
Best Book – Choice of 4 men/2 women

Results were announced on 27/12/15, with all the winners being male, who I am not at all disputing their winning.

Conservation Hero – Chris Packham, winning outright
Local hero – Nominated by readers, the
magazine highlighted 11 men/2 women, with the winner being a man
Blog of the year – Mark Avery, winning outright with a woman second (me!)
Book – Martin Garner, which was particularly lovely as he died not long afterwards

Why are those at the top dominated by men? Is it because there aren’t enough women, so they don’t get to the top or is it because men are promoted more than women? Particularly our female nature presenters? Where are they? Where are my role models? Where are my mentors?

Our nature media has to be more inclusive and balanced, publishing writing from men and women and be ethnically diverse where possible. Following my approach to the 4 big NGO’s on the issue of ethnic diversity, the RSPB and The Wildlife Trusts have been using images of ethnic minority children and young people. This is something the nature magazines need to focus on as well.

I hope the next time articles like this are written, women are fairly recognised and represented.

Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig birding in Somerset
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

About The Author

Hi, I’m Dr. Mya-Rose Craig. I am a 19-year-old prominent British-Bangladeshi ornithologist, environmentalist, diversity activist as well as an author, speaker and broadcaster. At age 11 I started the popular blog Birdgirl, and at age 17 I became the youngest person to see half of the birds in the world.

Buy My Book

Lyrical, poignant and insightful.’ - Margaret Atwood

This is my story; a journey defined by my love for these extraordinary creatures. Because large or small, brown, patterned or jewelled, there is something about birds that makes us, even for just moments at a time, lift our eyes away from our lives and up to the skies.

Lyrical, poignant and insightful.’ - Margaret Atwood

This is my story; a journey defined by my love for these extraordinary creatures. Because large or small, brown, patterned or jewelled, there is something about birds that makes us, even for just moments at a time, lift our eyes away from our lives and up to the skies.

Find Out More

To find out more about working with me or to buy my book, please use the links below.

Work With MeBuy Book