Posts Tagged ‘bird watch’

Big Garden Bird Watch

January 18th, 2019 | Plant Talk with Graham Rice | 0 Comments

Siskin (Spinus spinus) on the bird table

It will soon be time for the annual RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch, a nationwide count of the birds in our gardens that runs over the weekend of the 26/27/28 January.

One of the most popular of all citizen science projects, the Big Garden Bird Watch began in 1979 and is now the world’s largest garden wildlife survey. Over half a million people take part every year and because the survey has been exactly the same since it started, it’s easy to see how numbers are changing.

Numbers of blue tits, for example, are up 20% since the survey started and wood pigeons are up an extraordinary 800%! On the other hand house sparrows have declined in numbers, by more than half, although they’re now increasing again, and the number of starlings has dropped by about three quarters.

Last year it became clear that siskins (male, above) are becoming much more common in gardens. Like small greenfinches with forked tails, siskins are now number 24 on the list of garden birds when once they were rarely seen. Goldfinches and long tailed tits have also become more common – and a party of long tailed tits has just twittered through the garden in front of me as I write.

Knowing all this helps the RSPB develop conservation strategies – and it all starts with you looking out of your window. It’s easy to take part in this year’s Big Garden Bird Watch. Just go to the Big Garden Bird Watch webpage and sign up. You can ask for a pack to come in the post or do it all online, it’s up to you.

And now, in the middle of winter, you might also want to think about attracting birds to your garden. Think about nest boxes, bird feeders as well as bird food and don’t forget the RSPB range of seeds from which to raise bird and wildlife friendly plants.

In the meantime, get counting. I’ll be counting next weekend, I hope you will be too.

Siskin image by Simon Eugster. Published under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.