Last weekend was the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch and I chose Saturday to do my count. Unintentionally, I always seem to pick the day with the worst weather and this year was no exception – drizzly and windy! As planned though, this year’s count was done in my grandma’s garden (2016 was at my mum’s and last year was at my in-law’s) as I am very interested to see the results from different locations.
© the Green & the Wild
My grandma has been putting food out over winter, so after ensuring there was plenty on the grass and in the feeder, I sat in her conservatory between 11:30am – 12:30pm expecting to at least see my grandma’s regular garden visitors (2 woodpigeons and 2 magpies), but all I counted in the whole hour was a fleeting visit from a single blackbird and one woodpigeon!
As it is just as important to record no birds as it is many birds, I wasn’t disappointed but my grandma was keen for me to see the regulars, so later that afternoon once the weather had cleared up, we had another ‘birdwatch’ and would you believe it, within five minutes the lawn was crowded with two blackbirds, one of the two regular magpies and three woodpigeons, one of which was a juvenile which I found very sweet as the whole family was out for dinner together!
Did you take part in the Big Garden Birdwatch this year? If so, please share with us what you counted and of course, don’t forget to submit your results!
So the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch is complete! I hope you all had a wonderful time identifying and counting the birds and wildlife in your gardens or local parks.
This year I completed the survey at my in-laws house who live further out of the city. Last year, at my childhood home, the birds played a trick on me and decided not to land, meaning I only counted a handful of birds. I therefore wanted to see whether the location difference would affect my results. As you may know from my post about the Robin, my own back yard is pretty small and bird-less. I have a bird feeder and occasionally put out dried meal-worms, but do not want to encourage many birds as both of my neighbours have cats. Luckily though, my Birdwatch location had several well-used feeders out ready, so it was as simple as pulling up a chair to the window, getting comfy with a cup of tea and waiting for the birds to arrive. The hour ‘flew’ by and I managed to record twelve birds in total (from the garden and surrounding trees): 1 great tit, 1 robin, 1 blue tit, 4 woodpigeons, 2 house sparrows, 1 female blackbird, 1 collared dove and 1 carrion crow. Throughout the rest of the day, many more birds landed in the garden including a wren, and the female blackbird returned on several occasions (she is a regular apparently). A plump squirrel also made an appearance and stayed long enough for me to take a few photographs!
© The lovely robin and squirrel who visited the garden during this year’s Birdwatch.
4, 383, 224 birds have been counted and submitted to the RSPB so far and I am really interested to see the final results from mid-February. The results will help the RSPB find out what wildlife is thriving and what is in trouble, ultimately leading to “action to put things right”. The survey started back in 1979 as a small children’s activity, but now has over half a million people taking part each year! With the 38th year of data now being collated by the RSPB, the insight into UK wildlife is more accurate than ever… and it has already provided some fascinating information, for example between 2006 and 2016, the UK song thrush population decreased by a staggering 98% whereas the UK goldfinch population increased by an impressive 89%. As of 2014, respondents have also been asked about other wildlife as well a birds in their gardens, so a greater picture is beginning to be painted UK-wide!
Did you take part this year? If so, what birds and other wildlife did you record?
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!