RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch: Five reasons to participate
If theres one huge advantage of the winter season in the garden, its birds! Its such a great time to see these feathery friends without too much undergrowth or cover obstructing the view. Attract birds to your garden
by leaving out some food and water and youll be amazed just how quickly they flock to your patch. Theres no better season to start feeding birds,
just in time to participate in the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch which takes place from 28-30 January. Start feeding now to ensure you have a regular flow of visitors before you need to record them.
The RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch takes place at the end of January. Start feeding the birds now and they will help to brighten up your winter.
Why should you bother with birds ? Here's your starter for five:
Birdwatching is fun! You will make friends and learn a lot about your surrounding nature and wildlife.
- Your actions can actually help to keep individual birds alive through the winter.
- You are likely to learn a considerable amount about birds, nature and the environment.
- Once you have 'tuned in' to your garden wildlife, you'll learn to see and notice a lot more going on around you.
- You'll have a topic of discussion which could be a useful social tool.
- You should feel healthier, both emotionally and physically. Gardens are good for you!
What's more, your new interest in birds could see you joining in with all sorts of activities. Apart from the RSPB, there are many bird and wildlife groups who meet for walks and talks across the UK. Some of them even go on holiday together!
Spotting birds gives a great focus for a holiday or a walk with like-minded people
You never know where the topic of birds might lead.
A lady using her Hastings beach hut last year, for example, was amazed to find a red-footed booby bird
that looked very sad and sorry for itself on the East Sussex beach. She called East Sussex Wildlife Rescue,
who collected the bird and took it to the RSPCA
for some intensive care. The lady who found the booby became a minor celebrity - and the rare bird has recently been flown 5000 miles home for Christmas, courtesy of British Airways. Norman, as the bird was named, is thought to have hitched a lift on a boat and is the first red footed booby to have ever been recorded in the UK.
How to take part in the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch
Register for your free pack at www.rspb.org.uk. Its full of fascinating facts, tips and advice.
The birdwatch has been taking place since 1979 so there is now 37 years of data to compare against. It has revealed that numbers of greenfinches
are down by 66%, starlings
have declined by 81% and song thrush
numbers have dropped by 70%. Numbers of goldfinches
have risen by 89% and the long tailed tit
numbers have increased by 44%.
Sparrows are a frequent visitor to UK gardens
The Big Garden Birdwatch pack gives different recipes for bird feeding products that you can use in order to temp these creatures into the garden. It also provides an identification and recording sheet on which you can record your findings.
Water is just as important in the garden as food. This peacock birdbath, available from Perfectplants.co.uk is made from glass and is built to withstand the UK winter.
Heres the top ten garden birds from last year's RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch:
Robin and tit. Watching birds in the garden can be fascinating and you will soon consider them an extended part ofyour family.
- Blue Tit
- Great Tit
- Long-tailed Tit
Last year, the January mild weather allowed a greater number of small birds to survive the winter. This explained the increase in the number of long-tailed Tits, Coal Tits and Goldcrests,
the latter of which is Britains smallest bird together with the Firecrest.
The Goldcrest is one of the UK's tiniest birds, measuring around 9cm long.
Other willdlife visitors in gardens
The garden birdwatch also allows people to record sightings of other wildlife too. The most commonly seen visitors are grey squirrels, then foxes, followed by hedgehogs and even stoats
and red squirrels.
Grey squirrels are frequently seen in UK gardens
The message from the RSPB is this: Gardens cover an estimated 10 million acres in the UK
a space bigger than all the countrys nature reserves combined. Each green space can make a difference, from a window box full of pollen-rich plants for bumblebees
to a small pond hosting a whole range of different species. Its never too soon to plan ahead. Give nature a home where you live and make your outdoor space irresistible to wildlife.
Love flowers, creatures and nature! It's good for you and good for the environment too.