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Can bird abundance declines be detected by citizen science programmes? A case study using Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus

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Using data from two independent UK citizen science schemes we investigate evidence for declines in abundance of Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus, a species that is particularly easy to record. One of the schemes (Nature's Calendar) involves phenological recording across various taxa and is open to the general public, the other (BirdTrack) targets more committed birdwatchers. Results show a very strong correlation between the two schemes and confirm their ability to detect the marked decline in the abundance of Common Cuckoo in the UK in the 21st century. Furthermore, the first scheme allows some tentative regional comparisons with data from a century earlier, and suggests regional differences in Common Cuckoo decline over the longer term.
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Keywords: BARN SWALLOW; BIRDTRACK; NATURE'S CALENDAR; PHENOLOGY; POPULATION DECLINE

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 December 2017

This article was made available online on 27 September 2017 as a Fast Track article with title: "Can bird abundance declines be detected by citizen science programmes? A case study using Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus".

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  • Avian Biology Research provides a forum for the publication of research in every field of ornithology. It covers all aspects of pure and applied ornithology for wild or captive species as well as research that does not readily fit within the publication objectives of other ornithological journals. By considering a wide range of research fields for publication, Avian Biology Research provides a forum for people working in every field of ornithology. The journal also includes sections on avian news, conference diary and book reviews.

    Editor-in-Chief: Charles Deeming Editors: Tom Pike; Dale Sandercock; Claudia Wascher; Josh Firth; David Wilkinson; Jim Reynolds Production Editor: Claire Pike

    Cover image: Long-eared Owl (Asio otus). Credit: Peter Krejz/Shutterstock.com.

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