On the weekend of 25-26 January 2014, the RSPB is asking people all over the country to join the annual Big Garden Birdwatch. The largest wildlife survey in the world, the Big Garden Birdwatch has been running for over 30 years, and last year nearly 590,000 people took part.
To join in, all you need to do is to count birds in your garden or local park for one hour on 25 or 26 January. Record the highest number of each species that you see at one time and send in the results to the RSPB. You can submit your counts online or send them in on paper. See the RSPB website for full details of how to take part.
Taking part in the Big Garden Birdwatch really helps conservation. Because of the huge number of gardens and parks where counts take place, the survey is a good way of monitoring populations of common birds across the country. It can therefore help to flag up when a species is in trouble – such as the much publicised decline of the House Sparrow. Sparrow numbers counted in the Big Garden Birdwatch fell by a further 17% last year compared with 2012, and other species which showed big drops in numbers include Starling, Dunnock and Bullfinch.
Despite the decline, the House Sparrow was still the commonest bird in last year’s Big Garden Birdwatch, with an average of 3.7 Sparrows per garden across the UK. Even in London, where Sparrows have declined more drastically over recent decades, the House Sparrow was the second commonest bird recorded in the 2013 Big Garden Birdwatch, behind the Woodpigeon.
The top ten birds in London in 2013 were:
2. House Sparrow
3. Blue Tit
5. Feral Pigeon
9. Great Tit
These are all species which you could reasonably expect to see in a garden or park in Tower Hamlets. So why not give it a go and join the Big Garden Birdwatch in 2014?
Header photo: Woodpigeon (David Darrell-Lambert/Bird Brain UK)