Twitch London: The Big Garden Birdwatch 2012

By Lindsey Last edited 86 months ago
Twitch London: The Big Garden Birdwatch 2012

The RSPB's annual big twitch returns on 28-29 January and needs you to take part.

You don't need a hide, a utility belt or a beard. Just need sit by your back window or in your local park with pencil and paper (finger and iPhone) for an hour during that weekend, noting which feathered friends favour your patch.

Of particular interest for London is the plight of the goldfinch. Since 2005, goldfinch numbers in Greater London have risen from a low average of 0.3 recorded per garden in the Big Garden Birdwatch, up to 0.93 per garden last year. There's a suspicion amongst ornithologists that countryside goldfinches might be moving into the urban environment to take advantage of the warmer temperature in the city's backyards.

With red faces and yellow wing stripes goldfinches are a welcome colourful addition to London's bleak winter gardens. Described as "sociable, often breeding in loose colonies, and with a delightful liquid twittering..." they sound like they'd be right at home in Dalston.

Wherever they've picked in London they need you to look out for them as they adapt to their new home. They love to feed on thistle and teasel so if you've got a bird table or feeder, get some Nyjer (thistle) seed — which is widely available, probably at your garden centre — to keep them going through the cold.

The Big Garden Birdwatch takes place on 28-29 January 2012. Register and download a recording sheet to help you from the RSPB online.

Last Updated 18 January 2012