The Big Garden Birdwatch is an annual crowd-sourcing exercise by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) that helps to monitor UK bird populations.
It's simple to take part: register online then spend one hour on the weekend of 25 and 26 January counting the birds that visit your patch. Record your sightings and send them off back to the RSPB. Even if you don't have a garden at home you can contribute to the survey from your local park, community garden or green space.
Inspired by last year's birdwatch, a feeder appeared in a Londonist garden and over the course of the year it's established itself as a well tasty and reliable grub stop for an ever-expanding roster of species. We started off with a few brave pigeons, magpies, blackbirds and a robin. Now regulars include great tits, coal tits, blue tits, long-tailed tits, goldfinches, a pair of collared doves and a gang of starlings. There's even been a fleeting visit from a woodpecker and a couple of confused ducks.
In addition to taking part in the birdwatch, here are some other things you can do to support London’s birds:
- Sow or plant wildflowers - easy to grow from seed, even in pots
- Grow a hedge or shrubs, if you're lucky enough to have a garden
- Put out extra food during cold weather - they'll love nuts and seeds, fatballs or suet cakes, leftover rice, potato, cheese. If it's bread, wholemeal/grain or brown is better than white
- Put up nestboxes - somewhere safe and sheltered, away from stalking cats!
Take part in the Big Garden Birdwatch on Saturday 25 or Sunday 26 January 2014.