24: Take part in the Big Garden Birdwatch

RSPB; birds; wildlife; big garden birdwatch; bird watch; birdwatch 2015

“Count the wildlife that’s counting on you”

– The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB)

It’s the weekend of the UK’s Big Garden Birdwatch. For your Simple Thing, we are asking you to take part.


“Bird populations are a great indicator of the health of the countryside. That’s why it’s so important to take part in surveys like Big Garden Birdwatch to keep an eye on the ups and downs of the wildlife where we live.”
– The RSPB

Wildlife surveys are incredibly useful and important tools for monitoring animals and can show changes in their food source, habitat, or breeding behaviour. As a result we can see how animals will be affected and develop ways to protect them.

Starling is most under threat

Last year’s survey showed that in the UK the Starling is the most under threat (photograph – RSPB).

This weekend you have the chance to be part of the biggest wildlife survey in the world! Your contribution can make valuable difference and have a real impact on the bird populations in the UK.

Here’s how you join the Big Garden Birdwatch 2015:

  1. Register to take part on the RSPB website (this does not automatically make you a member of the RSPB).
  2. Spend an hour over the weekend counting the birds and other wildlife in your garden, local park or any other green space near where you are.
  3. Record the highest number of each species you see at the same time.
  4. Submit your results online or send in the post.

If like me you’re not sure you’d immediately recognise which type of bird you’ve seen, check out the RSPB Bird Identifier. You can also have a look at this list of wildlife including their sounds and where they generally like to feed: What to look out for – Birds and other wildlife.

Personally, I’m really looking forward to observing the birds and other creatures in my garden because I reckon I usually miss a lot.

Facts and figures

Goldfinch; Blue tit; Woodpecker; Great spotted woodpecker; birdwatch

Although there is still much work to be done, there is good news as well. All three of these bird species are increasing in numbers (Images – RSPB).

  • The Big Garden Birdwatch has been going on since 1979. Your can find the previous results and the trends observed over 36 years on the RSPB website.
  • 7,274,159 birds were counted in 2014 by nearly half a million people.
  • The top 5 most common birds were
    • House Sparrows
    • Blue Tits
    • Starlings
    • Blackbirds
    • Woodpigeons
  • The top 5 rarest birds seen in 2014 were
    • Waxwings
    • Grey Partridges
    • Barn Owls
    • Chiffchaffs
    • Yellow-rumped Warblers
  • Results of the survey have shown that the Starling, Greenfinch, House Sparrow and Song Thrush are all under threat.
  • To help them survive you can make some simple changes to our garden:
    • Keep some of your grass short and some long
    • Plant shrubs to aid ground feeding birds
    • Planting fruit trees
    • Ensure feeders are clean and regularly moved to prevent disease

I’m really curious to see the results this year, if you take any pictures this weekend and post them to the RSPB gallery or on social media don’t forget to use the tag #NewYearsResolutionPossible so we can see what you’ve been up to.

Research and writing – Rebecca Vaal


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