Half a century ago, Belgian Zoologist Bernard Heuvelmans first codified cryptozoology in his book On the Track of Unknown Animals.

The Centre for Fortean Zoology (CFZ) are still on the track, and have been since 1992. But as if chasing unknown animals wasn't enough, we are involved in education, conservation, and good old-fashioned natural history! We already have three journals, the largest cryptozoological publishing house in the world, CFZtv, and the largest cryptozoological conference in the English-speaking world, but in January 2009 someone suggested that we started a daily online magazine! The CFZ bloggo is a collaborative effort by a coalition of members, friends, and supporters of the CFZ, and covers all the subjects with which we deal, with a smattering of music, high strangeness and surreal humour to make up the mix.

It is edited by CFZ Director Jon Downes, and subbed by the lovely Lizzy Bitakara'mire (formerly Clancy), scourge of improper syntax. The daily newsblog is edited by Corinna Downes, head administratrix of the CFZ, and the indexing is done by Lee Canty and Kathy Imbriani. There is regular news from the CFZ Mystery Cat study group, and regular fortean bird news from 'The Watcher of the Skies'. Regular bloggers include Dr Karl Shuker, Dale Drinnon, Richard Muirhead and Richard Freeman.The CFZ bloggo is updated daily, and there's nothing quite like it anywhere else. Come and join us...

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Monday, January 23, 2012

Will our RSPB: West Country birds fret that it’s been mild and wet?

The RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch (28-29 January 2012) Over half a million people will be taking part in the world’s biggest wildlife survey this weekend, the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch (28-29 January). This winter has seen temperatures go from mild, to freezing, and back again, with ice, snow, wind rain thrown into the mix. And after two cold winters before it, the wildlife charity is eager to find out what this year’s confusing weather will mean for our garden birds.

RSPB’s Tony Whitehead says; “The last few months have been anything but predictable so it will be interesting to see what kinds of birds people are seeing this weekend, and in what numbers.

“With plenty of natural food still about some of the usual suspects might be a bit elusive, but heavy rain and strong winds could send other surprises our way.

“And spring-like signs might even be inspiring early breeding activities. There’s already been lots of evidence of birds recce-ing potential nest sites so whatever the weather, it’ll be a busy time.”

The RSPB is asking everyone to take part by picking an hour this weekend to record the birds they see, and feed their results back.

And they are urging everyone to submit their results, even if the numbers of birds they see might seem a bit low.

Tony Whitehead says; “We want to know what you see whether it’s a hundred birds or two birds, regardless of whether this is typical for your garden. We add up all the counts to work out the overall results.

“With over half a million people sending us their data this will help us build an important stock take of what’s happening in gardens this year. We can then compare these counts with others from previous years and note any changes.”

Martin Harper, the RSPB’s Conservation Director, says; “We all know how dreary it can be at this time of year and with the economy in such bad shape, why don’t you cheer yourself up by doing Big Garden Birdwatch? Sit down with a cuppa and watch from your windows. You’re really going to enjoy the wonderful world of nature out there.”

To step up for nature and take part, simply spend one hour over the weekend of 28-29 January, counting the birds in your garden or local park, and record the highest number of each bird species seen at any one time.

Visit the RSPB website www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch for more information and to submit your results online.

Pre-registration is open until Friday and those pre-registering will get a 10% discount for bird food and feeders from the RSPB online shop. A variety of bird care items including food and feeders are available from http://www.rspbshop.co.uk/.

For face-to-face advice the RSPB also has a shop at Dart’s farm in Topsham, Devon http://www.rspb.org.uk/reserves/guide/d/dartsfarm/index.aspx

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