Big Garden Birdwatch 2017
The Big Garden Birdwatch weekend is nearly upon us! This survey, now in its 38th year, gives everyone in the UK for that weekend the chance to take part in the world’s largest wildlife survey.
Last year more than half a million people across the UK counted a total of 8.2 million birds that were present in their gardens and green spaces. This year’s event is likely to attract even more people to count even more birds, providing a valuable snapshot of the national population of garden birds.
All you have to do is register to take part with the RSPB so that you can submit your records, and set aside an hour over the weekend of 28-30 January to count the birds that you see. You need to count the maximum number of birds that you see during the hour, so if you see six Starlings, and then 25, and then eight, you record 25. Don’t add all of the individual sightings together as it’s possible some birds will be counted twice.
The best approach is to make yourself comfortable in a spot with good views of the feeders, and make sure you have a bird identification guide, a warm drink and perhaps some biscuits on hand, just in case you need them!
If you haven’t got a garden you could choose a local green space such as a park, riverside footpath or nature reserve to count instead.
If you plan to count the birds that visit your garden, make the area welcoming for them. You probably do this anyway, but make sure that the feeders are kept topped up on the day and for the days leading up to the count. Adding peanut cakes or another high energy supplement such as Peanut Butter for Birds may draw in a few more species, or provide better views of the one that visit regularly.
For the count hour and immediately before minimise disturbance in the garden by keeping pets indoors.
Last year’s national top ten looked like this:
1. House Sparrow
3. Blue Tit
8. Great Tit
10. Long-tailed Tit
There is variation across the regions, but most typical gardens can expect to see the majority of those species. If you’re lucky you may also see a less common visitor such as a Blackcap, Reed Bunting, or even some Waxwings!
We’d love to hear what your highlight species was. It could be a common but popular species, perhaps a particularly confiding Robin, or something less common such as a Grey Wagtail, a flock of Linnets or, who knows?! Let us know by firstname.lastname@example.org. We may not be able to reply each individual email, but depending on the response we may publish a collection of your highlights in a separate news item.
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