Above – Citizen science: in the past 43 years, more than 150 million birds have been counted as part of the Big Garden Birdwatch, which gives the RSPB key insights into how bird populations are faring. Photo: Ben Hall/rspb-images.com
By Georgina Probert
THE RSPB’S BIG Garden Birdwatch returns this year on January 28, 29 and 30. The charity is asking people to give up just one hour to watch and record the birds in their garden, balcony or local park.
Last year, more than 1 million people across the UK took part and 17 million birds were counted over the three-day period, making it the biggest Birdwatch in the event’s 43-year history.
Beccy Speight, RSPB chief executive, said: “We were blown away by the enthusiasm with which people took part in the Birdwatch in 2021. By taking part in the Birdwatch, you are helping to build an annual snapshot of how our birdlife is doing across the UK. It is only by us understanding how our wildlife is faring that we can protect it. We know that nature is in crisis but together, we can take action to solve the problems facing nature.”
The UK’s most commonly seen garden bird during the 2021 Big Garden Birdwatch was the house sparrow, with 2.6 million sighted. The blue tit and starling came in second and third place. However, a closer look at data since 1979 has shown that house sparrow numbers have dropped by 58 per cent and starlings by 83 per cent.
Ms Speight added: “Whether you saw one blackbird, 20 starlings or no birds whatsoever, it is really valuable information as it helps us build a picture of how our garden birds are faring from one year to the next.”
For your free Big Garden Birdwatch guide, text BIRD to 70030 or visit: www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch
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