RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch returns for 40th year

Over 8 million hours have been spent watching garden birds since the Birdwatch began in 1979 with more than 130 million birds counted
Over 8 million hours have been spent watching garden birds since the Birdwatch began in 1979 with more than 130 million birds counted

The RSPB is eagerly anticipating who will be top of the pecking order for a very special anniversary of its world famous Big Garden Birdwatch in January.

Just one hour every year, for the last 40 years, has made the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch the largest garden wildlife citizen science project. During that time, hundreds of thousands of people have volunteered their time providing the RSPB with over eight million hours of monitoring garden birds.

This year’s event takes place on 26, 27 and 28 January 2019.

The public is asked to spend just one hour watching and recording the birds in their garden or local green space, then send their results to the RSPB.

Close to half-a-million people join in the Birdwatch every year and, in Aberdeenshire, the most commonly recorded bird last year was the house sparrow, followed by the starling, chaffinch, blackbird, blue tit, and goldfinch.

Over the last 40 years, 130 million birds have been counted giving the RSPB an astonishing amount of insight into how our wildlife is faring.

Mike Clarke, RSPB Chief Executive, said: “Everyone has a role to play in saving nature and protecting our wildlife. Big Garden Birdwatch participants have made a significant contribution to monitoring garden bird numbers over the past four decades. Those taking part work together as part of a community with thousands of other Big Garden Birdwatchers to help the RSPB’s work to protect birds, other wildlife and the places they live.

“Reaching 40 years is a huge achievement and shows just how passionate people across the UK are about their wildlife. The survey started as a winter activity for our youth members. It’s now the largest garden wildlife survey in the world and appeals to both children and adults because it’s an enjoyable, easy, inclusive activity that anyone can do and a great opportunity to connect with nature.”

As well as counting birds, the RSPB is once again asking participants to log some of the other wildlife they have seen throughout the year. This year, people are being asked to look out for badger, fox, grey squirrel, red squirrel, muntjac deer, roe deer, frog and toad.

To take part in the Big Garden Birdwatch 2019, watch the birds in your garden or local park for one hour at some point over the three days. Only count the birds that land, not those flying over. Note the highest number of each bird species you see at any one time – not the total you see in the hour.

For your free 40th anniversary Big Garden Birdwatch pack, which includes a bird identification chart, plus RSPB shop voucher and advice to help you attract wildlife to your garden, text BIRD to 70030 or visit www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch.