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 29-31 January 2021. 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 just under 500,000 people took part and nearly 8 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, Woodpigeon and Blackbird made up the top five. The most widespread bird was the Blackbird, recorded in 85% 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 2020 list in London, with an average of 3.2 sparrows per garden. Blue Tit, Woodpigeon, Starling and Feral Pigeon made up the top five. The most widespread bird in London was the Robin, recorded in 80% of gardens, followed by Blue Tit, Woodpigeon, Blackbird and Great Tit. The full 2020 results can be seen here.
To join in, all you need to do is to count birds in your garden, balcony or local park for one hour on 29, 30 or 31 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.
Header photo: House Sparrow by Richard Saville