Are you taking part in the RSPB’s annual Big Garden Birdwatch?

If you love watching the birds that visit your garden why not join in with the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch. By doing so you will be helping the RSPB’s crucial work of monitoring bird’s numbers across Britain.

The Big Garden Birdwatch has been running for 40 years and in that time approximately 127 million birds have been spotted and their numbers recorded. The results from nationwide surveys such as The Big Garden

Birdwatch are essential to informing conservation efforts for species in decline.

How to take part in The Big Garden Birdwatch

To take part on the RSPB’s Big Garden Bird Watch 2020 follow these simple steps:

  1. Simply take an hour out of your busy schedule between 25th and 27th of January to sit back, relax and spend time counting the birds that land on your patch.
  1. Count the most birds that land at once

You should only count the birds that land in your garden, not those flying over. The same birds may land more than once, so you can avoid double counting by recording the highest number of each bird species you see at any one time – not the total number you count over the hour.

  1. Tell the RSPB what you saw
  1. Every count is important, so don’t worry if you don’t see anything. Observing which birds aren’t around is as important as seeing the ones that are.
  1. You can record your own garden bird numbers or visit a local park instead. You have until February 16th to submit your results either online or by post. For full details check out The RSPB’s website for details, instructions and submission forms.

Full details are available on the RSPB’s website.

Big Garden Birdwatch results

Results from the 2019 Big Garden Birdwatch sadly, saw a decline in some well-loved bird species with 15 of the top 20 species returning fewer sightings than the previous year. Recorded sightings of Long-tailed tits had decreased by an alarming 27% and sightings of Wrens had decreased by 17%.

It is hard to tell whether these numbers indicate long term declines or whether they are due to weather anomalies such as “The beast from the East.” Information gleaned from this year’s Big Garden Birdwatch will only help to make the picture clearer.

The Big Garden Birdwatch has of course, also recorded the upturn in fortunes of some species. Indeed, the increase in the UK goldfinch population has been dramatic at over 80% since 2002.

Bird Feeders help bird populations thrive

Recent studies have linked the increase in some bird species to the wider availability of bird feeders and bird food in gardens.

High quality bird food rich in essential fats and sunflower hearts had caused European blackcaps to divert their northern migration routes to the UK.

Seed eating birds such as Goldfinches have been especially helped by garden feeders over the cold months.

Winter feeding seems particularly important for smaller species such as  the Goldfinch who find it harder to maintain their body temperatures in chilly weather. It will be interesting to find out which birds make it to the Big Garden Birdwatch top 10 this year.

Here are a list of last years top ten (results provided by the RSPB)

  1. House sparrow: 4.4 / 63%
  2. Starling: 3.1 / 41%
  3. Blue tit: 2.6 / 77%
  4. Blackbird: 2.3 / 87%
  5. Woodpigeon: 2.3 / 77%
  6. Goldfinch: 1.8 / 34%
  7. Great tit: 1.5 / 58%
  8. Robin: 1.3 / 82%
  9. Chaffinch: 1.3 / 38%
  10. Magpie: 1.2 / 54%