All Eyes On the Sky

All Eyes On the Sky

The nation will be poised to watch their garden birds at the end of January, for the RSPB's annual Big Garden Birdwatch 28-29 January.

And the RSPB is appealing for more sets of eyes than ever before, from all around the UK, to step up for nature and help form a complete picture of the fortunes of garden favourites in the recent topsy turvey weather.

Taking part in Big Garden Birdwatch not only helps the RSPB track the ups and down of garden birds, but it gives participants the perfect excuse to sit down with a cup of tea and enjoy the wildlife that they share their outside space with.

You'll be a part of the biggest garden bird event in the world and you won’t even have to leave the warmth of your armchair!

The RSPB keeps a watchful eye out for new and emerging trends from Big Garden Birdwatch results, which helped confirm that there was an alarming decline in birds like the house sparrow, starling and song thrush.

It's important that we keep a close eye on how our birds are faring, like the house sparrow for example. With so many people stepping up and taking part in Big Garden Birdwatch, if a pattern emerges, we take it seriously. Half a million people can’t be wrong and that's why the survey is so important.

There's nothing else like it on this scale, and as well as getting hundreds of thousands of people enjoying wildlife, it actually helps protect nature by showing the RSPB where we need to focus our efforts.

Sarah Houghton, RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch Project Manager

Recent harsh winters have seen some garden bird populations drop, only to make a comeback after a good breeding season the following year.

Last year, some of the UK's smallest garden birds bounced back, and the wildlife charity wants to know whether they have managed to maintain their numbers.

Big Garden Birdwatch is one of the first indicators to show how well UK birds haveRspb fared during the previous breeding season and winter. With over half a million people taking part each year and over thirty years worth of data the results give an early indication of garden bird trends.

But if even more people step up and take part, the scale of the ups and downs of our garden birds will become even clearer.

Last year's Big Garden Birdwatch results showed that some of the smaller birds which decreased in numbers the previous year, bounced back.

Sightings of goldcrests, the UK’s smallest birds, doubled, long tailed tits increased by a third and coal tits increased by a quarter.

And thousands of people were also lucky enough to see waxwings with an influx of the striking birds to the UK from Scandinavia known as a 'waxwing winter.'

Almost 90,000 school children and teachers stepped up and took part in the schools version of the survey last year, 'Big Schools' Birdwatch.' The UK-wide survey of wildlife in schools, which celebrated its 10th birthday this year, introduces thousands of children to the wildlife visiting their school environment.

Nearly 3,000 classes from more than 2,000 schools were involved, which was also a record-breaking number for the survey. 87% of schools taking part reported seeing blackbirds, with an average of five being seen at each school, making it the most common visitor to school grounds.

To step up for nature and take part, simply spend one hour over the weekend of 28-29 January, counting the birds in your garden or local park, and record the highest number of each bird species seen at any one time.

Visit the RSPB website www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch for more information and to submit your results online.

Pre-registration is now open and those pre-registering will get a 10% discount voucher for bird food and feeders from RSPB shops.

To request a Big Garden Birdwatch pack over the phone, please call 0300 456 8330

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