Will you be taking part in this year’s Big Garden Birdwatch? You hardly need anything to take part and it is completely free! all you need is a pen and paper, an hour of spare time, and maybe a little bit of bird food.

Here’s some more information about the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch, how you can take part, and some tips for attracting as many birds as possible to your garden.

What Is The RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch?

The Big Garden Birdwatch is an annual event hosted by the RSPB to encourage members of the public to interact with the birds in their area, record them and send the results to the RSPB.

The survey results are combined, and the RSPB publish the results, making it easy to see which garden birds are most common, may be declining, are spotted the most etc.

This is important for several reasons. Not only does the annual survey encourage people to connect with the natural world, but the results can help give an overall picture of the health of native bird populations.

Here are the results from last year – the humble House Sparrow has taken the number one spot for the past 17 years!

How Can I Take Part?

Taking part is really easy!

All you need to do is choose one hour to sit and watch the birds visiting your garden, the hour must be between 29-31 January.

Make yourself a cup of tea, get comfortable and take note of the birds visiting your garden.

The RSPB have full instructions on their website but in a nutshell, just count birds and record how many of each species you see. All you will need is a pen and paper.

Afterwards, and this is the really important part, report your result on the RSPB website.

There is no need to worry if you aren’t familiar with all our British bird species as the RSPB have produced a handy spotting guide and check sheet for you to use.

You can even apply on their website for a paper copy to be sent you via post, for absolutely free.

Nearly half a million people participated last year and counted almost 8 million birds. This year looks set to be the biggest birdwatch ever, as most of us are stuck at home because of the COVID-19 pandemic and national lockdown.

Taking part, particularly this year is a great way to fill an hour with a little positivity and benefit from the proven benefits of interacting with nature.

Who knows what you will spot!

How Can I Attract More Birds To My Garden?

It is important to remember that even if you only record a few species of birds, to still report your results as the idea is to get an accurate picture, good or bad of our bird population.

However, there is a simple way to ensure you have as many birds as possible in your garden to count and that is by feeding them!

At this time of year, birds need to eat a lot to produce the energy needed to get through the colder weather. As there is a lack of their natural food sources in winter (insects, berries etc), birds rely on us humans to provide them with tasty winter treats.

When feeding birds, it is important to remember to provide variety to ensure you get the maximum number of species visiting your garden. You can either use mixed birdseed or fill different feeders with individual types of bird food, such as peanuts for birds or suet pellets.

Remember to leave fresh water out too – birds still drink and even wash their feathers in the winter.

Good luck with feeding the birds and recording your results, we would love to see any pictures you manage to take – you can post them over on our Facebook page.