Tue, 17 Dec 2019
UP to half a million people are expected to watch and count their garden birds for this year’s RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch in January.
Just one hour every year, for the last four decades, has made the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch the largest garden wildlife citizen science project.
During that time, hundreds of thousands of people have volunteered their time, providing the RSPB with nearly nine million hours of monitoring garden birds.
How will you #BigGardenBirdWatch? will showcase some of the best examples of how people take part, from building their own birdwatching den to baking wildlife-themed cakes and making bird feeders.
This year’s event takes place on January 25, 26 and 27, 2020.
The public is asked to spend just one hour watching and recording the birds in their garden or local green space, then send their results to the RSPB. Close to half-a-million people join in the Birdwatch every year.
Over the last 40 years, 137 million birds have been counted, giving the RSPB an astonishing amount of insight into how our wildlife is faring.
Big Garden Birdwatch has highlighted the winners and losers in the garden bird world. It was one of the first surveys to alert the RSPB to the decline in the number of song thrushes in gardens. This species was a firm fixture in the top 10 in 1979, but 30 years later its numbers are less than half those recorded in 1979. By 2019, numbers of song thrushes seen in gardens have declined by 76 per cent, coming in at number 20.
RSPB director of communications Rebecca Munro said: “With nearly half-a-million people now regularly taking part, coupled with 40 years’ worth of data, Big Garden Birdwatch allows us to monitor trends and helps us understand how birds are doing. With results from so many gardens, we are able to create a ‘snapshot’ of bird numbers across the UK.”
The house sparrow remained at the top of the Big Garden Birdwatch rankings as the most commonly seen garden bird, with more than 1.2 million recorded sightings in 2019.
To take part in the Big Garden Birdwatch 2020, watch the birds in your garden or local park for one hour at some point over the three days. Only count the birds that land, not those flying over. Tell us the highest number of each bird species you see at any one time – not the total you see in the hour.
The parallel event, RSPB Big Schools’ Birdwatch takes place during the first half of spring term (January 6-February 21, 2020) – 60,000 schoolchildren spent an hour in nature counting birds in 2019.
Further information can be found at www.rspb.org.uk/schoolswatch
For your free Big Garden Birdwatch pack, with a bird identification chart, plus RSPB shop voucher and advice to help you attract wildlife to your garden, text BIRD to 70030 or visit www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch
Registration for Big Garden Birdwatch 2020 is now open.