Big Garden Birdwatch 2016 | Love The Garden

Big Garden Birdwatch 2016

Lucy Pitts's picture
By Lucy Pitts
A man using binoculars to birdwatch

If you follow our posts then you’ll know that here at Love The Garden we’re very excited about the Big Schools’ Birdwatch 2016 taking place between the 4th January and the 12th February 2016. But you don’t have to have children or work at a school to have an interest in birds and to get involved. As part of the same campaign, in January there is the Big Garden Birdwatch, the world’s largest wildlife survey. And it’s free and easy to get involved!

Learn More About the Birds in Your Garden

Absolutely anyone can take part in the Big Garden Birdwatch from the youngest to the oldest and whether your garden is several acres or just a small outdoor space. And it doesn’t matter if you live in an inner city or in the Highlands of Scotland because wherever you are, what you record is all an important part of capturing a snapshot of our birds and wildlife here in the UK.

A British jay standing on a branch
Image credit: Education Quizzes

And the chances are you’ll learn something too. Maybe you’ll spot a bird you’ve never seen before or weren’t expecting or perhaps you’ll gain a greater understanding of which birds visit your outside space and why. And when the results are in and published, it’s a great chance to get an overview of which birds are thriving, what’s struggling and what we can all do to help.

Help an Important Cause

You won’t be alone if you take part because half a million other people are also set to take part in this year’s Big Garden Birdwatch. And all you have to do is spend an hour recording all the birds that visit your garden or space. Then submit your survey to the RSPB website and the results are then collated to provide that all important overview of our wildlife.  

A goldfinch bird standing on a branch
Image credit: Wikipedia

How well birds are doing and which ones are doing well is a really important indicator not just about our birdlife but about our environment as a whole including how other species are performing and what’s happening with our habitat.

The Birdwatch Results so Far

Last year’s results revealed that the blackbird was the most widely spotted bird whilst the wren was spotted twice as often as it had been in 2014 and the robin is also on the increase. But sadly what was also apparent from the 2015 survey was that greenfinches, song thrush and starlings are in trouble. You can find out how to help these birds here.

There were also some pleasant and surprising results recorded which included sightings of the snow bunting, waxwing and skylark. You’ll find the RSPB website is a wealth of information if you’d like to know more about the survey results and you can download last year’s survey and even regional results for more details.

A Robin bird standing on a branch
Image credit: Fur, Feather and Fin

The How, the When and the Where

In its 37th year, the Big Garden Birdwatch runs over the weekend of the 30 – 31st January 2016 and you can register online now for your FREE pack (which they’ll send you in the post) at the RSPB website here.

Or alternatively just pop into your local wildlife reserve or centre where copies of the survey will be available after Christmas. 
Some ideas to help you get involved.

1.    If you visit the RSPB website you’ll find lots of regional events in support of the Big Garden Birdwatch but if there isn’t one near you, why not organise one yourself. It doesn’t have to be huge, it might just be between your neighbours or your street but it might also just be the nudge they need to get involved.

ChapelWood Big Bird Watch Competition
Image credit: Chapelwood

2.    Take advantage of technology. Kids can be hard to persuade outside at this time of year but use tablets or computers to help identify the birds and they soon start to get involved.

3.    Get involved all year round. Why not make a point of recording all the other wildlife that visits your garden throughout the year and do let the RSPB know if you spot any rare or unusual birds.

4.    Make or put up bird feeders and put out bird feed to encourage visitors to your garden and help keep them going as the weather gets worse. Peanuts, suet balls, sunflower seeds and hearts as well normal seeds are all great for winter feeding.

Last year’s Big Garden Birdwatch survey saw more than eight-and-a-half million birds spotted which is great news for our environment. We’d love to know how you get on, how many birds visit your garden during that hour and who your most common bird visitor is. Why not share your results with us as well as the RSPB here at @LoveTheGarden and go on, get twitching. 



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