Around 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 25-27 January 2020. 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 470,000 people took part and over 7.6 million birds were counted. Despite its much-publicised decline in numbers, the House Sparrow was the commonest bird in last year’s count, averaging over 4 sparrows per garden. Starling, Blue Tit, Blackbird and Woodpigeon made up the top five. The most widespread bird was the Blackbird, recorded in 87% of gardens where counts took place, though Blackbird numbers have declined since the first Big Garden Birdwatch in 1979.
The House Sparrow also topped the 2019 list in London, with an average of 2.7 sparrows per garden. Woodpigeon, Starling, Blue Tit and Feral Pigeon made up the top five. The most widespread bird in London was the Woodpigeon, recorded in 80% of gardens. The full 2019 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 25, 26 or 27 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: Woodpigeon by John Archer