Friday, 27 January 2017

RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 2017

If you enjoyed taking part in the Big Butterfly Count over the summer, this weekend is your chance to get close to the nature near you once again! The weekend of 28/30 January 2017 is the time of the RSPB's annual Big Garden Birdwatch.

What's It All About?

It's a very sad fact that some of our favourite garden birds are declining in numbers while others are increasing. According to RSPB, starlings have declined by a devastating 81% since 1979, while song thrush numbers are down around 70%. The Big Garden Birdwatch tells the RSPB what's happening to garden birds UK-wide. This is a fun and fascinating opportunity to involve your family in keeping an eye on how our precious garden birds are doing in our area.

How Can I Take Part?

It couldn't be simpler. Go to the RSPB website and download the Big Garden Birdwatch pack. This contains lots of information about how to record the birds you see, along with recipes for food that will attract birds to your garden. The pack includes a very useful chart to help you to identify the the birds you see.

Then all you need to do is sit by your window for an hour and make a note of the birds that visit your garden. The RSPB recommends that you are more likely to see birds if you do your watch early in the morning. When you're done, log your results online at

Big Numbers 

In 2016, 519,000 people across the UK counted 8,262,662 birds during the Big Garden Birdwatch. This amount of data helps RSPB to discover trends in garden bird populations.

For example, between 2006 and 2016, greenfinches in England have decreased by 66% while the goldfinch population has increased by 90%. This figure will come as no surprise to residents of Peterborough as goldfinches, with their distinctive red faces, are a very common sight here.

Find out more about last year's results.

I already know that wood pigeons are the most frequent visitors to my garden in Orton Northgate, Peterborough. However, it will be interesting to see if smaller birds ever drop in over the course of an hour. I will let you know!

Goldfinch from The RSPB on Vimeo.

So How Did You Get On?

I did my birdwatching between 8am and 9am on Monday morning with disappointing results. One magpie, one blackbird and one sparrow visited my garden during an entire hour! I live in a rented house on a newly built estate, and have only a small patch of poor quality lawn for a garden. However, I'm going to think of more ways to attract wild birds to my garden and hope for better results next year.

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