The Big Garden Birdwatch is world’s largest garden wildlife survey, and 2018 will mark its 39th year. It is run by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and will take place on 27th , 28th and 29th January 2018. All we have to do is spend just one hour watching and recording the birds in our garden or a local green space. Then we send our results to the RSPB.
Close to half-a- million people joined in last year counting more than eight million birds and providing valuable information about the wildlife using our gardens in winter. We’re all familiar with the sight of bluetits on a bird feeder or a cheery robin hunting for grubs but it might come as a shock to know that some of our most-loved species are in desperate need of our help because their numbers have dropped dramatically.
Species such as starlings and greenfinches have seen their numbers decline by 79 and 59 per cent respectively since the first Birdwatch in 1979.
40 years worth of data allows the RSPB to monitor trends and helps us understand how birds are faring, and what potential issues they might be facing. With results from so many gardens, they are able to create a snapshot of the visiting birds at this time of year across the UK. So even if you see nothing at all during your Big Garden Birdwatch hour, that’s important information too!
The RSPB also asks participants to log some of the other wildlife they have seen throughout the year. In 2018 people are being asked to look out for badgers, foxes, grey squirrels, red squirrels, muntjac deer, roe deer, frogs and toads.
To take part in the Big Garden Birdwatch 2018, participants should watch the birds in the garden or local park for one hour at some point over the three allocated days. Only the birds that land in the garden or local park should be counted, don’t count those just flying over.
There is also a parallel event; Big Schools’ Birdwatch takes place which takes place during the period 2nd January-23rd February 2018. Further information about this can be found at www.rspb.org.uk/schoolswatch
Both the Big Garden Birdwatch and the Big Schools’ Birdwatch are part of the RSPB Giving Nature a Home campaign. This is aimed at tackling the habitat-crisis facing the UK’s wildlife. The charity is asking people to provide a place for wildlife in their gardens or outdoor spaces: this could involve putting up a nest box for birds, creating a pond for frogs, or building a home for hedgehogs.
There is a free Big Garden Birdwatch pack, which includes a bird identification chart, plus advice to help you attract wildlife to your garden. Text BIRD to 70030 or visit www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch. Registration opens on 13th December 2017.