Get Twitching With The Big Garden Birdwatch

By Londonist Last edited 173 months ago

Last Updated 27 January 2010

Get Twitching With The Big Garden Birdwatch

Amazing what you find in your garden. Great Spotted Woodpecker snapped by Gaz-zee-boh in N7.
This weekend sees the return of the RSPB's annual Big Garden Birdwatch. Thousands of spotters from around the country will take part in order to report back an invaluable snapshot of the number and type of garden birds in this country.

The top three birds spotted by twitchers in London last year were the starling, the wood pigeon and the sparrow. The much-loved robin put in an appearance at number seven and the beautiful collared dove was at number ten. Country-wide, the most common birds were the sparrow, starling and blackbird, while some of the more unusual birds included the skylark, the meadow pipit and the tawny owl.

Since the event's conception in 1979, there's been a huge decline in bird numbers across the board. Most drastically, we've lost more than half our house sparrows, and three-quarters of our starlings. Being able to accurately track and report this trend is hugely important to the RSPB and it's very easy to take part; just register and set aside an hour sometime over Saturday or Sunday to watch your garden or local park and note down the birds that you see.

There are resources on the RSPB site for those of us not armed with ornithological know-how, including an attractive recording sheet with illustrations of the top 20 birds. If you spot a bird and can't work out what it is, have a go on this wonderful Bird Identifier. For maximum twitching, it's worth putting some food out in your garden as soon as possible to lure your mid-winter hungry feathered friends down.

By Lucy Langdon