RESIDENTS are being urged to look out for their feathered friends this weekend when the RSPB’s annual Big Garden Birdwatch takes place.
Participants are tasked with spending an hour viewing birds in their garden or in a space in their local area either Saturday (January 25) or Sunday (January 26), recording which species they see.
The results will be compared to those collated during last year’s birdwatch and those that have gone before – the first ever one was in 1979 – enabling experts to track the winners and losers in the bird garden world.
A total of 7,557 people in the Worcestershire took part in the Big Garden Birdwatch in 2013 and the house sparrow proved to be the most popular bird in the county’s gardens with an average 3.4 sightings.
This is the first time in more than 30 years that people are being asked to log information about other wildlife in their gardens as well.
The RSPB wants to find out about deer, squirrels, badgers, hedgehogs, frogs and toads as well as part of the charity’s Giving Nature a Home campaign. That is so it can build an overall picture of how important our gardens are for providing all types of nature a place to live.
Another new development is the RSPB’s LIVE bird counter, which makes the Big Garden Birdwatch even easier to take part in.
The counter can be accessed from the RSPB website, on a laptop, tablet or smartphone which people will be able to take to the window. Users can then enter the birds as they see them while the hour-long clock counts down.
Martin Harper, RSPB Conservation Director says: ”Winter has felt more like autumn for many of us and this could have a significant impact on the number of birds in our gardens.
“Birds come into gardens for food when they can’t find it in the wider countryside but if insects and berries continue to be available long into winter, numbers visiting gardens may be down.
“The Big Garden Birdwatch will be really interesting this year and will be a good indication of just how much the weather affects their behaviour.”
He added the key thing for the RSPB was that even if people did not feel they had many birds in their garden, the organisation still desperately needed the results.
Visit www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch to find out more information and take part, either by downloading a form or by using the new online bird counter.
Participants then have three weeks to submit their results to the RSPB, either online at www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch or via post.
** SCHOOLS can also get involved in the Big Schools’ Birdwatch, which about 75,000 children and teachers take part in each year.
Schools can choose to take part in that for an hour at any time between January 20 and February 14.
Log onto www.rspb.org.uk/schoolswatch for more information.
An RSPB spokesperson said: “It is a brilliant way of helping young people connect with nature in their school grounds or local green space.”