Winter Blackcap Project

By David Ratcliffe

The sight of Blackcaps Sylvia atricapilla in the garden during the winter months has become a relatively common.

It has been suggested that they are a central European population of Blackcaps that have evolved a new migratory habit over the past thirty years or so, although conclusive evidence has not yet been found.

What does seem clear however, is that they have successfully adapted to our winters, and are making use of gardens and garden feeding in particular to survive.

I am interested in trying to discover what numbers may be present in Worcestershire during the winter months, where they might be found, and what types of food they are eating.

I would therefore like to hear about your sightings of these birds between October 1998 and March 1999, noting numbers present, their sex, where you saw them, and if feeding, on what. Other interesting information would also be welcomed such as their behaviour towards other species i.e. competing with other species etc.

Once I have worked through all the information I will submit an article for inclusion in future editions of either Worcestershire Wildlife News or Worcestershire Record.

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