More than half a million people from across the UK are set to take part in the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch by counting the birds in their gardens over the weekend of 28-30 January 2017. They’ll also make a record of the other wildlife they see throughout the year, providing a vital snapshot of UK nature.
The largest wildlife survey in the world, the Big Garden Birdwatch has been running for over 30 years, and last year 519,000 people took part and over 8 million birds were counted. Despite its much-publicised decline in numbers, the House Sparrow (see photo above) was the commonest bird in last year’s count, averaging over 4 sparrows per garden. The most widespread bird was the Blackbird, recorded in 88% of gardens where counts took place, though Blackbird numbers have declined since the first Big Garden Birdwatch in 1979.
The House Sparrow was also the commonest bird in Tower Hamlets gardens in the 2016 Big Garden Birdwatch, with an average of 2.8 per garden, followed by Blackbird, Feral Pigeon, Blue Tit and Great Tit. The Blackbird was the most widespread bird in Tower Hamlets, being seen in 67% of gardens taking part. A total of 20 species of birds was recorded by Tower Hamlets residents taking part in the 2016 survey. The full 2016 results can be seen here.
To join in, all you need to do is to count birds in your garden or local park for one hour on 28, 29 or 30 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. You can request a free information pack to help you get ready for the Big Garden Birdwatch and identify the birds you see.
Header photo: House Sparrow by David Darrell-Lambert/Bird Brain UK