Every Bird Must Count…

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Birds you should see in your garden - Blackbird

Over 2-million of regularly watch and care for garden birds, spending £200-million on bird seed and other items – such is our national passion. Bird populations are a great indicator of the health of the countryside, which is why the RSPB launched its Big Garden Birdwatch survey in 1979.

Since then, the UK population has played a valuable role in monitoring the ups and downs of our wildlife. This year, all eyes will be to the skies on the weekend of Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th January. People take part UK-wide, from the Scottish Highlands to Lands End, to make Big Garden Birdwatch the biggest garden wildlife survey on the planet. Last year, almost 600,000 people counted the birds in their garden to provide the RSPB with vital information about garden bird populations in winter. Feedback helped to alert conservationists to significant declines in UK garden species, like house sparrows and starlings. This year, participants will be hoping that further declines of garden favourites have reversed, or slowed down.

Don’t have a garden? No problem. Take part in the Big Garden Birdwatch in a local park or nature reserve. This year, for the first time, participants are being asked to log some of the other wildlife they see in their gardens too. Recording sightings of deer, squirrels, foxes, badgers, hedgehogs frogs and toads will help the RSPB to build an overall picture of how wildlife is faring. All you need to do, is spend one hour at any time over the Big Garden Birdwatch weekend noting the species seen. This year, it is possible to record your Birdwatch sightings as they happen — on your laptop, tablet or smartphone, thanks to our new ‘live bird counter.’ Twitter users can also use #birdwatch.

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The RSPB has over 200 reserves spanning mountains, valleys, beaches, Heathland and wetlands and works closely with a wide variety of UK wildlife hotspots many of which will be hosting special Big Garden Birdwatch weekend events. The following are just a selection, for full details visit www.rspb.org.uk/reserves or www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch:

Big Garden Birdwatch at Yorkshire Sculpture Park, West Bretton, Wakefield
18th – 25th January
Time: 11:00 – 15:00
Price: Free (tel: 07734 595905)
Ask our experts to help identify the birds that you see in local area and make the most of tips on feeding garden birds and how to participate in the world’s biggest garden bird survey.

Big Garden Birdwatch, Chorlton Water Park, Chorlton, Greater Manchester
25th January
Time: 10:30 – 12:30
Price: Free
Tel: 07540 121309)
Learn about the birds and wildlife that you may see, or have seen, locally with plenty of expertise on how to help the RSPB tackle problems that threaten natural habitat.

Big Garden Birdwatch at RSPB Dove Stone, Oldham, Greater Manchester
25th & 26th January
Various times (ring for details)
Price: Free
Time: Tel: 01457 819880
Drop into the reserve to see what garden birds have visited us during the Big Garden Birdwatch and learn more about the wildlife species that can be seen in your backyard + feeding tips, spotting guidance and a chance to “ask the experts”.

Big Garden Birdwatch at RSPB Campfield Marsh, Solway Wetlands Centre, Cumbria
25th January
Time: 14:30
Price: Free event (booking essential)
Tel: 01697 333055
Explore the reedbeds, pools and grasslands at this bird-rich marshland reserve with plenty of opportunity to ask for help with bird ID queries over Big Garden Birdwatch weekend!

...perhaps a goldfinch...

Big Garden Birdwatch at Cusworth Hall, South Yorkshire
25th January
Time: 10:30 – 15:30
Price: Free
Tel: 07540 013324
Explore the trails and pathways through scenic Cusworth Hall with our wildlife experts with a chance to swap bird sightings with other Big Garden Birdwatch participants and RSPB guides.

Big Garden Birdwatch at Grizedale Forest, Grizedale, Ambleside, Cumbria
25th & 26th January
Time: 11:00 – 16:00
Price: Free
Tel: 07595 655020
Ask our team of Big Garden Birdwatch experts to help identify the birds that you see over this survey weekend – plus tips on feeding, nesting and identifying birds and wildlife.

Big Garden Birdwatch, at RSPB Flatford Wildlife Garden, Suffolk
25th & 26th January
Time: 10:00 – 15:00
Price: Free entry to garden (possible small charge for some activities)
Tel: 01206 391153
Ask our experts for practical tips on how to create a wildlife-rich garden to maximise the number of different species you can attract. There will also be staff at-hand to help identify the birds that you see in local area + how to participate in the world’s biggest garden bird survey.

Big Garden Birdwatch at RSPB Old Moor, Old Moor Lane, Wombwell, Barnsley
25th & 26th January
Time: All day
Price: Free
Tel: 01226 751593
Visit the Dearne Valley this Big Garden Birdwatch weekend to follow woodland trails rich in birdlife with our experts at hand to provide loads of tips and hands-on advice – if you’re struggling trying to identify a species, just ask!
Big Garden Birdwatch, RSPB Visitors Centre, Wat Tyler Park, Pitsea, Essex
25th & 26th January
Time: 10:00 – 16:00
Price: Free
Tel: 01268 498620
Join our friendly team of wildlife experts at our South Essex Visitor Centre to take part in the annual Big Garden Birdwatch – we’ll help you with your ID queries with plenty of opportunity to explore the picturesque trails and gardens.

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Big Garden Birdwatch, RSPB Sandy, Bedfordshire
25th & 26th January
Time: 11:009 – 15:00
Price: Free
Tel: 01767 680541
Visit the RSPB’s beautiful sandy heathland reserve to “meet the Big Garden Birdwatch experts” – we’ll be able to answer your queries and help you prepare your garden, planters, tubs or patio so that it attracts greater numbers of birds, butterflies and bees.

Big Garden Birdwatch at Balloch Castle Country Park, West Dunbartonshire
25th January
Time: 13:00 – 15:00
Price: Free
Tel: 07909 595283
Explore the trails and pathways through the stunning grounds and parklands of Balloch Castle Country Park where our bird experts with help you with all your Big Garden Birdwatch queries.

Big Garden Birdwatch, RSPB Saltholme, Seaton Carew Road, Port Clarence, Middlesbrough
25th & 26th January
Time: All Day
Price: Free (Children’s activities, £2)
Tel: 01642 546625
Join in all the Big Garden Birdwatch fun at this family-friendly RSPB reserve where there will be plenty of advice on what you can see, where you can see and how!

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