All Gather for the Bird Garden Birdwatch!
It’s been a funny old winter this. I know I’ve gone on about it a bit but it really has been bizarre, daffodils shooting around Christmas, roses blooming in mid-January bizarre. The seasonal imbalance doesn’t stop there as we are seeing swallows flying about the garden when they shouldn’t even have left their holiday resorts yet. This is of particular relevance now, as this weekend is the RSPB’s annual Big Garden Birdwatch. An annual event that not only lets people learn more about the amazing birds that inhabit our gardens but also plays an important role in helping the RSPB track the migration of birds into the country, gauge their numbers and check their populations.
All you need to do to get involved is download a free Big Garden Bird Watch pack from the RSPB website. The pack has all the details and such but the overall idea of the BGBW is remarkably simple; strength in numbers. You don’t need to spend a whole day meticulously cataloguing every bird that enters your garden, just decide on one hour this weekend to sit and watch the birds. By taking a note of all the different species of birds you can see in the garden and perhaps which ones seem to be thriving, you will get a snapshot of what the bird activity in your area of the country looks like. Not a lot to go on you may think, but here is the clever bit, there are literally hundreds of thousands of people across the country taking part in the BGBW, which means your contribution will be one small (though vital) part of a much larger picture. With all this data coming from all over the country the RSPB can analyse, extrapolate, quantify, triangulate, and many other clever things, an amazingly accurate cross section of the behaviours and migratory patterns of all manner of species as they return to our shores after their winter holidays.
So why not give it a go? Print off a pack, sit down with a thermos of something warm and have a twitch. Just one hour, fill in the questionnaire and send it in and you will have personally contributed to the effort to conserve wild birds in the UK. The RSPB needs you, so do it not just for birds everywhere but for Science!
But don’t stop there. Give a think to what else you can do in your garden. Introduce some fruiting shrubs like holly; pyracantha or sarcococca – they not only feed the birds but look pretty cool as well. Remember during the winter, birds are desperate to find a source of water, so add a bird bath and keep it topped up. They can be used as a focal point in your garden design as can an attractive bird table. They all make a huge difference and the birds desperately need your help. The British bird population really has plummeted over the last few years and it is really up to us to do something to help them – so start this week end, it is extremely satisfying as well!