The City Nature Challenge is an annual competition between cities all over the world to see how many wild species their citizens can spot over the space of four days.
2021 looks set to be the biggest year ever with over 400 city areas signed up to take part in the challenge globally, including Birmingham and the Black Country. Our wildlife records will be compared with that of worldwide cities from Cape Town to Canberra, Barcelona to Buenos Aires as well as our namesake Birmingham, Alabama, USA.
Last year Birmingham and the Black Country took part in the challenge for the first time, and over the course of the four days managed to record over 16,000 records of 1,300 different species – with highlights including weasels, buzzards, green-winged orchids and some insect species which had never been recorded here before. You can see what was spotted last year here. This result meant that we managed to spot more wildlife in Birmingham and the Black Country than any other European city!
As well as being a fun activity that gets us to notice and learn more about our urban wildlife, the City Nature Challenge generates useful species information that helps organisations, such as EcoRecord and the Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country, to protect wildlife and to target their nature conservation activities. The species information that we gather can also help to tell us about the impact of climate change on our area, including highlighting changes in the distribution and range of different species.
This year’s nature-spotting challenge will take place from the 30th April to 3rd May. For full details of how to take part, and to receive updates on the City Nature Challenge, see the website here.