First, a very Happy New Year, and here’s hoping for a less stressful year all round.
Today a reminder about the upcoming Big Garden Birdwatch arrived through my letterbox, and I am staggered that the annual event has come around so quickly. For those who haven’t taken part in the past, it’s a simple activity. By counting the birds we see in our gardens and parks, members of the public help the RSPB to chart how well birds are doing in the UK. This has been rolled out every year for 40 years, and the data is used to monitor what is happening to bird populations. For example, house sparrow sightings have dropped by 53% since the first Birdwatch in 1979. Although they are showing signs of recovery, this and other species need to be monitored.
You choose an hour, at any time of the day on one day between the 29th and 31st January and write the highest number of each bird species that you see at any one time. The example given is “if you see a group of eight starlings together, and towards the end of the hour you see six together, please write down eight as your final count.” This is because the second bunch may be the same individuals as the first bunch, back for another visit. The purpose is to count individual birds, not individual visits. Even if someone participating in the survey sees nothing in the hour, it’s still useful information for the RSPB.
You can sign up online at https://www.rspb.org.uk/get-involved/activities/birdwatch/packrequest and results can be submitted online before 19th February or by post.