This weekend (the 26 – 28 January) saw the 40th annual Big Garden Birdwatch, run by the RSPB. This is a great citizen science project, where everyone can join in and have a go at spotting and counting the birds in their garden or local green space. I have a little garden, and community green space, where I live. So on Sunday morning, I made myself a cup of tea and spent an hour watching for birds from the kitchen window.
Taking part is really simple – I like to do my watch using the traditional method of pen and paper, and then I log into the website to record my sightings!
At first I thought I wouldn’t see much, because I don’t generally see many small birds around this area and we don’t have any bird feeders. But, I was happily surprised after an hour of watching at what I saw. Here are my results:
- 2 Woodpigeons
- 5 Herring gulls
- 2 Blue tits
- 2 Magpies
- 1 Blackbird
- 2 Carrion crows
Sometimes I get a bit disheartened doing the Big Garden Birdwatch, because I can see all these other people on social media getting looooads of birds, and some really rare ones, while I generally (honestly) only get one pigeon! But, what you have to remember, is this is all really important scientific information. So telling the RSPB that you’ve seen one pigeon, or no birds at all, is just as important as telling them if you’ve seen lots.
The scientists want to build a picture of how our bird populations are doing, and they can only do that if we tell them good quality and reliable information.
I really enjoyed my hour of birdwatching; I saw birds gliding in the wind, hopping along the grass, cawing at eachother, perching in the trees for warmth, and coming down to find some food. I got to watch all of these behaviours as a by product of spending the time searching and counting. I also enjoyed seeing my results and how they compared with everyone else’s – it’s nice to know you have contributed to a real bit of science!
Find out more about the Big Garden Birdwatch and how you can join in next time on the RSPB website.