25 January 2024


It’s time to dust off those binoculars and get involved with this year’s Big Garden Birdwatch which takes place this weekend.


The Big Garden Birdwatch is the world’s largest garden wildlife survey, where thousands of nature lovers come together to help the RSPB discover how Britain’s birds are faring – all from the comfort of your back garden.


First starting in 1979, the event was originally launched as a project for schools and young RSPB members however, the organisation soon realised how popular the survey was and it was soon expanded to members of the public.


Since then, around 38 million birds have been lost from the UK’s skies as they continue to face so many challenges – such as lack of invertebrates to eat and climate change – making it more important than ever to get involved.


Over half a million of people took part in the Birdwatch event last year, making it the largest citizen wildlife survey in the country.


With data from previous Birdwatch events, the average count for Goldfinches has increased by 10% over the last decade as they have taken advantage of the food left out for them – a similar story for Great Tits who are also partial to a bird feeder and snuggling down in nest boxes. Following the Birdwatch last year, actions such as these have made a difference as well as the recent mild winters which may have also helped.


Anybody can join in with the Big Garden Birdwatch which takes place Friday 26 to Sunday 28 January. All you need is one hour of your day, pen and paper to jot your counting down and a location to watch birds from – this can be your own garden, a balcony, a local park or even at Anglian Water’s free birdwatching event at Rutland Water.


All visitors need to do is turn up at Sykes Lane’s visitor centre to collect a spotting sheet to record what you see. Binoculars will also be available for hire so you can catch a close-up glimpse of woodpeckers and tree creepers who are making good use of Rutland Water’s recently coppiced trees and natural dead hedges by the water’s edge.


For your results to count, you only record the birds that land in your patch – not any that are flying over – and record the highest number of each bird species you see at any one time. Once your hour of counting is up, you can submit your results online or by post to the RSPB.


Your counting will support the RSPB’s research into how garden birds are faring across the UK and help them investigate what factors are impacting these results.

For more information, visit: www.rspb.org.uk/whats-happening/big-garden-birdwatch