RSPB Birdwatch held this weekend ... make sure you join in
This year’s RSPB “Big Garden Birdwatch” is back this week – and you are all invited to take part.
It will take just an hour out of your free time on Friday, Saturday or Sunday, so whether you’re an early bird or a night owl you can join in.
Just count the birds you see landing in your garden – ignoring those in flight – and to avoid double-counting, just record the highest number of each bird species you see at any one time – not a running total.
This year the RSPB advice is to take part in the safety of your own home which could include a birdwatch from your window if you overlook a green space or courtyard.
Now in its 42nd year, Birdwatch is held in mid-winter as this is the time of year when garden birds need us the most and so are easier to spot.
January brings the birds into gardens in search of extra food and so before starting your birdwatch perhaps fill up some bird feeders with treats such as seeds, suet or nibbles, or even put out leftovers such as some bread, fruit cake, dried fruit, unsalted nuts, or fruit such as apples and pears.
Last year nearly half a million people counted almost eight million birds, making it one of the biggest ever Birdwatch events ever and this was the UK top five:
1. House sparrow, 2. Starling, 3. Blue tit, 4. Wood pigeon, 5. Blackbird
You can join the action by visiting rspb.org.uk/birdwatch and signing up to find out all you need to enjoy your birdwatch, then send the results in before Friday, February 19.
The RSPB teams analyse all the results using their same systems each year so it can be compared properly, year on year. Rankings can be produced UK-wide and also broken down into lists for counties and regions.
Checks are made at where birds have moved up or down the lists – such as the song thrush which was a firm fixture in the top ten in 1979, but by 2019 the numbers had dropped by 76% and it came in at number 20; house sparrows had shown a decline but in the past 10 years numbers have grown.
As the RSPB points out: “Results like these help us spot problems.
But, more importantly, they are the first step towards putting things right.”