Between 2014 and 2017 the British Birds Charitable Trust awarded a number of grants to young birders to help defray the cost of ringing equipment or visiting a bird observatory (see Brit. Birds 108: 436–437).
The BB Charitable Trust is again looking for applicants from young people aged 16 – 21 for projects in 2018. It could fund an observatory visit, a small-scale research project or perhaps habitat creation at a local patch. The aim is simply to encourage young people with their birding. Grants would be up to a maximum of £250 and in the first instance all that we need is an e-mail to BBTrust@britishbirds.co.uk with a brief outline of the intended project (deadline 31st March 2016). This grant scheme has been generously assisted by Ed Keeble and we welcome other donors to what we consider is a very worthwhile enterprise.
Last summer, Georgia Locock used her grant to spend a couple of weeks at Fair Isle Bird Observatory:
It was just after lunch and I was sat in the observatory lounge drinking a cup of tea. Suddenly, I noticed a couple of folk running back and forth around the waters’ edge at North Haven. At this point I had no idea what was going on, until someone shouted through the Observatory building: ‘KILLER WHALES in North Haven!’
I had never been in such a panic in all my life. I grabbed the necessaries and fled down to North Haven. In doing so I tripped over multiple times, there was no time to do laces! The rush was surreal. The pod of Killer Whales was only around 100 metres from where I stood, I can still remember the shear excitement of it now. It was possibly one of my best wildlife experiences.
The magic of Fair Isle didn’t stop there. Whilst on the island I had many new birding experiences. For example, watching Storm Petrels being ringed until 4 am in the morning. I also enjoyed seeing seabirds in a different environment, in particular the Arctic Skuas that breed on the island, and simply experiencing Fair Isles outstanding landscape. The two and half weeks that I spent there would not have been possible without the support of the BB Young Birders Grant. I would definitely recommend any young birder to apply!
You can also read about Sam Buckton’s (another of last year’s recipients) visit to Foula in January’s BB eye