This weekend (26th to 28th January) is the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch. This is the 40th year of the survey which started out as an event for children back in 1979. The popularity of the birdwatch has grown so much that it is now the world’s largest wildlife survey. In 2018, 8 million birds were counted during the Big Garden Birdwatch. The total number of birds counted since 1979 is more than 130 million. The birdwatch is important not only for spotting the rare and oddities but also monitoring the effects of climate change and the decline in some species numbers. Many people take part for the joy and excitement of being part of one of the biggest pieces of citizen science in the world.
The RSPB’s conservation is vital for wildlife. With support from their members they protect wildlife and the wider countryside and help connect people with nature. It began in 1889 in Manchester as the SPB as a women’s society counter the barbarous trade in plumes for women’s hats. This year marks it’s 130th anniversary as a far-reaching organisation, working to collectively change the fate of nature.
To help you get involved with this weekend’s Birdwatch, we’ve put together our top 6 tips for beginner birdwatching!
1. You’ll need some binoculars
Your enjoyment of spotting birds depends on actual seeing them! You want a clear, bright, crisp picture so you can get all the details. Binoculars can be pricey, but they have come down in price over the years. The RSPB shop has a great selection RSPB Binoculars
2. Use guides
Once you’ve spotted a bird, you’ll want to know what it is! There are lots of great field guides and you can mark down the species and details.
3. Get a bird feeder
You want to encourage as much wildlife into your garden as possible! A bird feeder should bring the birds to your garden and give you enough time to observe them whilst they feed. There’s all sorts available, and home made ones work well too. Keep an eye on our shop for our range of 100% recycled eco-friendly bird feeders coming soon! Safer Surfacing Shop
4. Use Tech
There are lots of apps and websites to help you on your bird watching journey. Apps can be great for when you’re out and about spotting. Lots of websites have videos and audio of song calls which help you identify.
5. Get involved locally
Research for groups in your area (try the RSPB website) and you’ll have a great community of help and support to share tips, sightings and learn from their experience!
6. Spread your wings
Once you’ve got comfortable spotting in your garden, it’s time to venture further afield to expand your experience. Try the park, nature reserves and wildlife areas.
What to note when watching:
where did I see this bird?
– how big was it?
– how did its size compare to other birds around it?
– what colours and patterns did its plumage & bare body parts (bill, legs, claws etc.) have?
– what was it doing? (perching, singing, feeding, preening)
– what was it eating?
– was it alone, in a pair, or in a flock?
what was its song or call like?
Are you taking part in the #BigGardenBirdwatch ? Are you a seasoned watcher or is this your first go? Let us know in the comments!