Big Garden Bird Watch is 30

Count me in...

Count me in...

2009 sees the 30th birthday of the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch, the world’s biggest bird survey, providing a vital snapshot of the UK’s birds each winter.

Here are three reasons why you should help celebrate the 30th birthday over the weekend of 24-25 January:

1. It’s fun

And you just never know what you’re going to see!

It may be a couple of sparrows, a robin or even a heron.

Spend time with friends and family, put on your party hat, have a bit of birthday cake and enjoy yourself.

2. It’s easy

Was there ever a better excuse to stay in your armchair and stare out the window, than to say you’re just counting the birds in your garden? In fact, you’re likely to see more birds if you don’t go into the garden and disturb them.

For the last 30 years, gathering the infromation has remained exactly the same – watch the birds in your garden for an hour and record the maximum number of each species you see at one time.

You really don’t need to be an expert to take part. Whether you’re young or old, an ‘expert’ or a beginner, there really is no better place to start than the Big Garden Birdwatch.

The RSPB even have a downloadable check sheet to allow you to easily record what you see.

3. It only takes an hour

The robin with his distinct red breast

The robin with his distinct red breast

By giving up one hour you’re making a real difference to the knowledge of garden birds. So much has been learnt over the past 30 years about the birds in our gardens – not least how passionate people are about birds and wildlife.

The RSPB now have shedloads of data about house sparrows and starlings, blue tits and blackbirds and, well, probably any garden bird you can name.

This info is invaluable because there’s absolutely no way they could get so much of it without your help.

Scientists can then use these patterns in bird numbers to help prioritise bird conservation work. We’ve seen that house sparrows, starlings and song thrushes really need our help – we’re seeing fewer every year. Because we now know this, we’re looking into what we can all do to help them.

Treat yourself to an hour watching the birds in your garden. Go on, give yourself a break and enjoy the wildlife around you. You’ll feel refreshed, relaxed and inspired.

So, at some point over 24-25 January put an hour aside for you and the birds.

You’ll be making a big contribution to conservation, The RSPB will be really grateful and you’ll feel lovely, warm and fluffy (just like some of those birds).

You will be able to submit your results online after 24 January 2009

More information

For further information go to the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch website.

Schools can also take part

It couldn’t be easier to take part in the Big Schools’ Birdwatch

  • Register online to get your unique Big Schools’ Birdwatch PIN number, and request your free teachers activity pack, which contains resources to help young people identify and count birds
  • Arrange a day between 19-30 January to do your watch. Morning is the best time of day to see birds – or after break when they come to pick up dropped crumbs from the playground
  • Set up some feeders in a convenient place near your classroom windows, and around your school grounds
  • Watch birds for a total of one hour, keeping count of how many birds of the same kind are seen at the same time. You only need to record the birds actually in your grounds or in the park, not those flying over
  • Send in your results and you will be entered into a prize draw for some fantastic goodies for your school. If you do the survey in shifts, pull together all your counts so that you are ready to submit ONE set of results for each class or group
  • Receive your certificate and letter telling you the results of the survey


Big Schools’ Birdwatch teachers’ notes

Teachers’ notes for Big Schools’ Birdwatch 2009 and special website

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