• Birds, Open Spaces and the “Unsung Heroes” That Look After Them: A Cause for Celebration on 4th May 2024

    Blue Tit, Kingfisher & Magpie – Andy Ambrose. Blackbird, Mute Swan & Robin – John McGowan


    Chris Millward (Co-Founder of Team4Nature and Conservation Manager at Bibbey’s Wild Farms) recently graced our AGM with his presence, sharing his heartfelt plan to walk 34 miles through almost thirty of Birmingham’s green spaces, documenting birds in their open spaces, all in memory of his beloved father.

    Below, Chris himself has written a detailed account of his ambitious journey and how local Friends Groups and nature enthusiasts can participate and accompany him on this special day. Prepare to be captivated by Chris’s passion for nature and his touching tribute to his dad.

    Chris Millward (Co-Founder of Team4Nature and Conservation Manager at Bibbey’s Wild Farms) after giving his inspiring talk at our AGM 2024

    “It is now widely documented as to how important birds and the rest of Nature are to our health and wellbeing. For instance, a YouGov poll, commissioned by the RSPB found that watching birds and hearing them sing had a positive impact on wellbeing for 90% of people. Birds not only fill us with positive chemistry when they sing but they are also important indicators. The greater the number and variety of birds present in a neighbourhood, the healthier that local natural environment is likely to be (1) . Birmingham’s open spaces played a significant part in my father’s childhood, and they have also pretty much defined my own life too. They are the urban oases that provide food and shelter for birds to live and breed. That is why I consider the hundreds of volunteers across the city that help to look after these special places to be “unsung heroes”.
    My father sadly died this year and on Saturday 4 th May 2024, I am setting out on a 34-mile Birmingham birdwatching walk to pay tribute to him. I warmly invite you to get involved too to create a massive celebration of Brum’s birds, open spaces and the “unsung heroes” that look after them.

    Anyone can take part, across the city. Here is how you and your Friends Groups can
    get involved:

    1. Get out onto your Birmingham open space at any time on 4 th May 2024
    2. Have fun whilst making a list of all the different birds that you see on that day
    3. Send the list of birds and where you saw them to me: [email protected] A master list of all bird species seen by everyone taking part on the day (the “Birmingham Open Spaces Team”) will be submitted to an event taking place on that day across Staffordshire, Warwickshire, West Midlands and Worcestershire
    4. Celebrate Brum’s birds, open spaces and the volunteer groups that look after them by posting on social media using the hashtag #BrumsBirdlife
    5. To meet or walk with me along my route on 4 th May 2024 email: [email protected]

    Here is the map of my route:

    Here are the open spaces that I will be visiting along the way, together with approximate times of arrival, after passing Kings Norton LNR, Cotteridge Park, Hazelwell Park, Kings Heath Park, Highbury Park, Pebble Mill PFs, Winterbourne House and Chad Brook before dawn:

    • 5:30am Edgbaston Reservoir,
    • 5:55am Summerfield Park,
    • 6:15am All Saints Park,
    • 6:20am Muscrane Road Rec,
    • 6:25am Bachus Road Park,
    • 6:35am Waverhill Park,
    • 6:45am Handsworth Park,
    • 7:30am St. Mary’s Church,
    • 8:05am Perry Hall Playing Fields,
    • 8:15am Perry Hall Park,
    • 9:05am Trehurst Avenue PA,
    • 9:05am Turnberry Park,
    • 9:20am Queslett NR,
    • 9:45am Aldridge Road Rec,
    • 10:20am Conker Island,
    • 10:55am Perry Common Meadows,
    • 11:15am Witton Lakes,
    • 11:45am Brookvale Park,
    • 12:20pm Salford Park,
    • 1:40pm Saltley Playground,
    • 1:45pm Adderley Park,
    • 2:05pm Kingston Hill Park,
    • 2:40pm Sara Park,
    • 3:00pm Small Heath Park,
    • 3:40pm Burbury Brick Works NR,
    • 3:55pm Blackberry Way,
    • 4:30pm Greet Mill Meadows
    • 5:00pm Sarehole Mill,
    • 5:30pm “The Dingles” at John Morris Jones Walkway.

    Details of meeting points at the above open spaces will be provided upon receipt of your email as well as a WhatsApp group for everyone taking part across the city to keep in touch on the day.
    I am proud to celebrate the fabulous work that volunteers do to protect and enhance the open spaces across Birmingham that had such a positive influence on my father’s life and continue to do so in my life today.

    On 4th May 2024 the birds will sing for all these “unsung heroes” across the city! ” – Chris Millward

    (1) Defra: National Statistics – Wild Bird Populations in the UK, 1970 to 2022


    To watch the video recording from Chris’ talk at our AGM 2024, click here! 

    Posted on 25th April 2024