Between 2014 and 2018, the British Birds Charitable Trust awarded a number of grants to young birders (see Brit. Birds 108: 436–437).
The BB Charitable Trust is again looking for applicants from young people aged 16–21 for projects in 2019. It could help to fund an observatory visit, a small-scale research project, buy some ringing equipment or perhaps support 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. To apply please complete the Young Birder Grant Application Form and send it to BBTrust@britishbirds.co.uk (deadline 31st March 2019). This grant scheme has been generously assisted by Ed Keeble and we welcome other donors to what we consider is a very worthwhile enterprise.
In 2017, Ellie Mayhew used her grant to purchase ringing equipment: I first started bird ringing 5 years ago, and obtained by C permit in September 2015. The British Birds grant has been such a huge help to me, as it allowed me to purchase a new mist net, poles and a copy of Jeff Baker’s Identification of European Non-Passerines, all essential items for any qualified ringer.
It has been such a delight, and a huge learning curve, to practice ringing in my garden at home by myself. My family regularly spot ringed birds using the feeders, which is still rather a novelty! One particularly exciting find in my garden was a Greenfinch that had been ringed at one of our ringing sites 5 km away – not a particularly impressive movement, but still lovely to know about.
My ringing adventures have taken me all across the south of the country, from ringing Shag chicks on Mullion Island in Cornwall (which we had to kayak out to!) and mist-netting Dartford Warblers in the purple heathlands of Dorset to ringing Buzzard, Barn Owl, Tawny Owl and Kestrel chicks on Salisbury Plain and Canada Geese in Reading!
I feel incredibly lucky to be a part of such an exciting and worthwhile scheme. There is nothing quite like seeing a new species of bird in the hand, or showing the bird ringing process to someone who has never seen it before. I am looking forward to spending many hours of my summer break from university out in the field with my mist net, ID guides and other ringing equipment. Without the British Birds grant, I wouldn’t be able to do this. Thank you so much!