The Isle of Man Christmas Bird Race started in 2011 and is held each year during the seven days from Christmas Day to New Year's Eve.
It’s a race with a difference! Birdwatchers of all abilities and expertise can head out across the Island to record as many different species of birds as possible during the festive period.
However, it isn’t a competition between individual birdwatchers or groups of birdwatchers. It is a community-wide collaborative effort, running from Christmas Day to New Year’s Eve, during which the aim is for birdwatchers collectively to discover and report as many different wild bird species as possible across the Isle of Man and its seas.
Neil Morris, Managing Director of Manx BirdLife says, “Last year, more than a hundred birdwatchers and nature lovers from across the Island took part in this bit of festive fun. Between them, they spotted a record-breaking one hundred and nineteen species of wild bird.”
Morris added, “Everyone can participate and send in their sightings, from expert birdwatchers to beginners alike, as individuals, families or as part of a group. You can birdwatch for as many or as few hours as you wish. It’s a great excuse to get outdoors during the Christmas period and get some much-needed fresh air and exercise.”
The Christmas Bird Race rules are simple:
- Sightings can be reported from the seven-day period running from the start of Christmas Day to the end of New Year’s Eve (00:00 on 25th December to 24:00 on 31st December);
- You can spend as little or as much time as you wish looking for birds on your own, with your family or in groups anywhere on the Island;
- Sightings must be of birds seen on, above or around the Isle of Man within Manx territorial waters;
The 'race' is just for fun – there are no prizes! The aim is for everyone together to discover which species are spending mid-winter on and around our Island. This will include hardy residents as well as visitors from the Arctic, Continental Europe and even Canada and beyond!
Sightings can be submitted to Manx BirdLife through any of the following methods:
- Online at www.manxbirdlife.im/sightings/submit-your-sightings;
- Completing and returning the free handy Christmas Bird Race Recording Sheet available to download at www.manxbirdlife.im/sightings/christmas-bird-race;
- Twitter @ManxBirdLife using #ManxBirdRace;
- Manx BirdLife’s Facebook page.
Please include your name, the dates and places of your sightings, the species and the number of each you saw, and a note of any interesting activities or behaviours you noticed.
Morris advises, “Please take care. Always check the weather conditions before you go out and ensure you are dressed appropriately. Do remember when taking part that the welfare of birds and other wildlife is important. And most of all, have fun. The team at Manx BirdLife looks forward to collating all your sightings. The big question is, will we break the current record of one hundred and nineteen species recorded in 2021?”
To find out more about how to join in the fun of the Christmas Bird Race and to keep up with the number of species being seen, visit www.manxbirdlife.im/recent-sightings/christmas-bird-race.