It is that time of year again… the clouds are grey, the air is chilly, but there are things to make us smile and feel warm inside. The days are slowly starting to get longer, Winterwatch is back on our screens next week and of course, the RSPB is holding the Big Garden Birdwatch from the 28th – 30th January.
The Big Garden Birdwatch helps to build a picture of garden wildlife across the UK and we can all be part of the world’s largest wildlife survey! I took part for the first time last year and had so much fun, despite only counting a handful of birds (it was a cold, windy day). Amazingly, more than 519,000 people all over the UK took part in the survey and counted an incredible 8,262,662 birds over the weekend! The top three spotted were the house sparrow, starling and blue tit. I wonder what the top three will be this year!?
It is easy to do and is great for any age. Just find a comfortable spot, inside by a window (which I am going to do this year), outside in your garden or even a park. Then over a single hour on any of the three days, simply count the maximum number of each species that you see at any one time. For example, if you see three blue tits together, and later you see four, and after that two, the number to submit is four (not nine). This makes it less likely that you will double-count the same birds.
I have already registered and received my pack. If you would like to join me and thousands of others to count the wildlife that is counting on us, you can request a pack here. If you order it to be sent by post, the RSPB also kindly sends a few little goodies including a coaster, packet of coffee and a lovely recipe for some biscuits (which are delicious – yes I have already baked some).
I will be blogging about my experience and survey results after the Big Garden Birdwatch weekend and would love to hear your results too!
© This photograph was taken in the summer, but I am sure the sparrow will make it into the top ten list again this winter.