Friday, 11 December 2009

Ring-necked Parakeets (in Britain)

Researchers at Imperial College are starting a study into Ring-necked Parakeets in Britain. They are first compiling a list of roosts and would especially like to hear from you if you know of any roosts, and they are also looking for volunteers to take part in a Parakeet count on 3rd January. If you can't make that date, maybe you'd like to be involved in a count later in the year. I've pasted the details of Project Parakeet below, and you'll find a contact email address at the end.

Parakeet Population Census : Call for volunteers

We are a research group at the Biology Department of Imperial College London. We have recently begun a four year study into the effects of the ring-necked parakeet on native bird species in the UK. As part of this work it is essential for us to have accurate estimates of the current population size of the ring-necked parakeet in the UK, and its growth rate. The last census was carried out in 2001/2, and current estimates of population size are based on this data and the growth rates that they estimated at the time. This gives a current estimate of 20,000-50,000 individuals.

In order to estimate the current population size we intend to co-ordinate a large scale roost count. The first count will take place on Sunday 3rd January 2010, and will be simultaneous across as many known roosts as possible, using the same methods at all sites. If the count is successful we intend to repeat the count every three months to enable us to estimate the population growth rate and any changes in roost usage. We are now seeking volunteers who would be willing to assist with two elements of this project:

1) Compiling a list of all known roost sites

2) Assisting with the first roost count on Sunday 3rd January 2010.

Counts will begin two hours before sunset (14:04 on Jan 3rd) and will continue for half an hour after sunset (16:34) to allow for any individuals arriving in the residual light of dusk. The intention is to have several people counting at each site in order to control for individual error and allow us to cover all entry routes into the roost. No experience is necessary to assist with the count as we will provide a full, clear protocol to follow, along with data collection sheets. The data that we collect during these counts will be prepared for publication in relevant journals and will be widely publicised.

If you know of any roost locations or are interested in assisting with the count on Jan 3rd (or for any future counts), please contact us at:

Friday, 4 December 2009

Chirp! is one year old!

Exactly one year ago Chirp! was released into the AppStore! It's been a very exciting year - things move at breakneck speed in the iPhone app world and for much of the year things have rushed past in a blur. Chirp! became Chirp! Europe, Chirp! USA was released, various Lite versions have come and gone, new features have been added, and many extra birds have been added. But Chirp! still isn't nearly at the place I want it to be - so many features I still want to add, so many birds that can be added. So many other countries that could be covered!

Highlights of the year include:
* Reaching #1 in the Education section in Switzerland shortly after launch, and staying there for ages. The Swiss were our first big fans, giving us our first taste of success.
* Discovering that my favourite radio presenter, Simon Mayo, is a fan. I listen to his show every afternoon so it was so exciting when he asked for the Bittern to be added. (Was that Chirp! I heard when he played a Magpie sound to a guest last week?)
* Good sales throughout the summer in Europe and the US, staying in the top 20 in most of the countries that Chirp! covers.
* Getting into the top 100 of all apps in the Netherlands, and the top 50 of all apps in Switzerland.
* The most recent highlight, is seeing Chirp! Europe featured on the Apple website in Britain, France and Germany.
* And finally, throughout the year, meeting so any nice people - through email, Twitter and Facebook - thank you all for the encouragment, the excellent suggestions and general feedback. It really is due to you all that we have worked so hard at improving Chirp!

What a great year for a simple bird song app!