Get Involved: The Big Garden Birdwatch

Grab Your Binoculars and Join the Big Garden Birdwatch 2021

Forget crime shows and TV soaps; there is real drama going on in your very own garden! It’s time to grab your binoculars and take part in this year’s Big Garden Birdwatch. Incredibly this is the 42nd year that the RSPB has called on communities to take part in what is now the UK’s largest garden based citizen science project. Why? Well not only is it great fun, but it provides the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) with essential data that allows them to keep tabs on the population of British birds.

Here’s how to get involved, some tips and tricks on birdwatching, and a link to the RSPB’s chirpy quiz asking ‘which garden bird are you?’

Birdwatching binoculars on a table

Taking Part is Simple

This year’s event takes place on 29th – 31st January and all you need to do is spend just one hour watching and taking note of the birds that you see in your garden. Here’s some simple steps to get involved:

  • Choose your time: Early bird or night owl? Select an hour during those three days that suits you.
  • Record what you see: During your hour, count the birds that you see in your garden. It’s important to ignore any birds that you see flying. If you don’t see anything in your hour still submit that result. Knowing which birds do and don’t visit your area is really important to the RSPB.
  • Send your results: Submit your results online at rspb.org.uk/birdwatch between 29th January and 19th February. If you’d rather send your results by post, download a submission form from the RSPB website.
  • This year, it is recommended that you take part from the safety of your own home and follow government advice where you are.
House Sparrow sitting on a garden fench in the rain

A First for Birdwatchers

A little birdie told us that for the very first time this year, the RSPB will be running the Big Garden Birdwatch LIVE! Experts from across the UK will be sharing photos, fun facts and footage of the birds they see to keep you clued up and counting together. They’ll also be answering any questions you may have and providing live quizzes. See if you can spot any familiar faces over the weekend on the RSPB social media accounts with the #BigGardenBirdwatch

Starling eating at a garden feeding station

Quiz: Which Garden Bird Are You?

Ever wondered what garden bird your personality best matches? Are you a lone eagle, a friendly sparrow, a shy robin or an excitable jackdaw? Take the quiz right here:
https://www.rspb.org.uk/get-involved/activities/birdwatch/which-garden-bird-are-you/

Tips and Tricks for Budding Birdies

Excited already? There are things you can do now to make your Big Garden Birdwatch even more enjoyable when the weekend arrives. Here’s a few tips and tricks to treat the birds that visit your garden.

  • Create interest in your garden

Garden birds love a place to perch and take a rest. Natural and manmade perches which sit close to your feeders will encourage birds to stop for lunch and chirp ‘hello’. Providing food is also great, especially during these harsh winter months, and the RSPB recommend high-energy (high-fat) foods in cold conditions.

  • Give them a welcome drink

From bird baths to reflection pools, birds love to take a drink and even bathe so why not set up your very own watering hole. Providing food and drink for your garden birds is a great way to capture them motionless, meaning you can grab a quick photograph.

  • Keep an eye out for bird behaviour

Taking the time to stop and study the birds that enter your garden will mean you’ll start to pick up on their behaviour. Some will be shy whilst others will display bold characteristics. Staying quiet and trying not to make any sudden movements will allow you to see kinds of behaviour you’ll likely never have seen on a local walk. Watch and listen out to see how different species communicate and interact with each other.

Multiple garden birds eating at a feeding station

What birds will visit your garden this year? We’d love to see your Big Garden Birdwatch snaps. Tag us in your spots.

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