Every January, the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) holds a Big Garden Bird Watch. This year the event is being held between the 27th and 29th of January. 2023 marks the 43rd year that the RSPB has called on communities to take part in what is now the UK’s largest garden-based citizen science project.
Why?! Well, not only is it great fun and completely free activity, but it provides the RSPB with essential data that allows them to see how our birds are doing. Read on to find out more about how you can take part.
Why do we need the Big Garden Bird Watch?
We’ve lost 38 million birds from UK skies in the last 50 years, according to the RSPB. This clearly underlines that nature is in crisis. We see it in our own back gardens with house sparrows struggling and starlings in severe decline. The decline has been gradual, with the most common species in decline being farmland birds. Extensive research undertaken by the RSPB shows that changes in agriculture are the main cause. You can head to this page, where they go into detail about how this has happened.
How to attract birds
With birds facing big challenges, every birdwatch matters! It’s as simple as topping up your bird table and filling your bird bath to the brim. Make sure to remove old food and clean your feeders regularly, as diseases can be a massive issue for certain species. Goldfinch and chaffinch numbers have dropped dramatically due to a disease that spreads around contaminated feeders and water bowls. Check here for guidance on how to clean your feeders and keep your garden birds safe.
What birds will you see?
From blackbirds, blue tits and chaffinches to dunnocks, house sparrows and more… there are plenty of commonly sighted birds that you may see in your garden or local park. Click here for a wider overview of different birds and how they look.
Nature is nothing if not unpredictable, and every now and again some rare birds pop up in the Big Garden Bird Watch data! Will you be one of the few that spots something unusual?
How to take part in the Big Garden Bird Watch
It couldn’t be simpler! Pick an hour between the 27th- 29th of January, make yourself a cuppa and watch. Yep, that’s it! Watch your garden, watch from your local park or your allotment and make notes on what birds you see within the hour. Then, log on to RSPB and let them know what you saw.
You don’t need to be an RSPB member to take part, and it’s completely free. When you sign up, you receive a handy guide to help with identifying the birds, as well as lots of useful tips on how to help our birds all year round.
Do you want to know how to help other garden wildlife this winter? Why not read our most recent blog, where we outline how to help not only common garden birds, but other creatures like frogs, newts and hedgehogs, click here to find out more.