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RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch. Join in and rejoice

RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch: Five reasons to participate

If there's one huge advantage of the winter season in the garden, it's birds! It's 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 you'll be amazed just how quickly they flock to your patch. There's 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:

  • 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!

Birdwatching is fun! You will make friends and learn a lot about your surrounding nature and wildlife. 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.
Red Footed booby, cared for by the RSPCA before his transportation back to the Cayman Islands. Photo credit: RSPCA.

How to take part in the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch

Register for your free pack at It's 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 is made from glass and is built to withstand the UK winter.

Here's the top ten garden birds from last year's RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch:

  • Sparrow
  • Starling
  • Blue Tit
  • Blackbird
  • Woodpigeon
  • Goldfinch
  • Chaffinch
  • Great Tit
  • Robin
  • Long-tailed Tit

Robin and tit. Watching birds in the garden can be fascinating and you will soon consider them an extended part ofyour family. 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 Britain's 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 country's 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. It's 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.

By Perfect Plants


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