The annual RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch is an hour snap shot survey of garden birds that people to take part in across the country. It can be done anytime over the coming weekend, 24th or 25th January 2015 and all you have to do is register online.
The Big Garden Birdwatch is brilliant for lots of reasons; anyone can take part, you can do it on your own or with others and it’s really easy to do (you can just look out of a window). It’s great to get children involved, so that they feel connected to nature. Then you just have to write down what birds you see. Garden birds are not hard to identify with lots of people knowing what a Blue Tit or Blackbird look like. If not, look at a simple bird guide book or check out the RSPB website.
It’s a good idea to fill your bird feeders the day before or put up something like fat balls that you can hang without feeders. You don’t have to be into birds like me to do the Big Garden Birdwatch. Lots of people are RSPB members, being “a million voices for nature” and so if you are a member, make a special effort to take part and get children involved with you.
Last year I did the Big Garden Birdwatch twice; once in a friend’s garden and then at home. In my garden the best bird we saw was a Marsh Tit, but we saw plenty of other things too, like a flock of 20 Goldfinch.
At Guides last year, I ran a bird workshop to go towards our RSPB badge. During the evening we did a bird ID game, made feeders and encouraged the girls to do the Big Garden Birdwatch. The feeder I made was the only one the Marsh Tit fed on!
Seeing the results is also fascinating, for example the most common bird in my garden could be really rare elsewhere or something common elsewhere could be not around in our garden. For example, last year the commonest garden bird was House Sparrow, which is rare in our garden. Last year nearly half a million people took part in The Big Garden Birdwatch and over 7 million birds were recorded. So, get out there and have a go, getting any children involved, and you will have a great time.
The Big Garden Birdwatch is important because it helps the RSPB examine the population of bird species in the UK. For example in the RSPB magazine it shows the Woodpigeon population has gone up by 923% since 1979 but the Blue Tit population has only gone up by 8%. Or, if you want to look at the glass-half-empty side of things, the Greenfinches are -34% since then, and sadly Starlings are -84%. In my area the most noticeable decrease are the House Sparrows that used to feed in our garden in winter, but sadly are now rare. Their numbers in the UK have dropped by 63%.
It’s funny to think my Dad has done it since he was 11, from when it started in 1979.
About the Author
Mya-Rose Craig is 12 years old and lives just outside Bristol. She writes the successful Birdgirl Blog, with posts about birding and conservation from Britain and around the world. She has recently been listed with the singer songwriter George Ezra and actress Maisie Williams as one of Bristol's most influential young people. Please like her Birdgirl Facebook Page and follow her on Birdgirl Twitter
© Chris Craig
© Chris Craig
© Chris Craig
[Header image: © Oliver Edwards Photography]