Get involved in the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch
Did you know, the largest UK volunteer citizen science project is taking place at the end of January and you can be part of it?
The 42nd RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch is taking place from Friday 29th to Sunday 31st January. This annual event is an opportunity to spend time (just 1 hour), immersed in nature to assist with gathering information to create an important National ‘snapshot’ of how some of our most loved garden birds are doing.
The Parks Trust is supporting the activity by encouraging individuals to use their garden or local green space to observe and record garden birds. Through our management of the parks we provide vital habitats for wildlife with the hope of improving and maintaining Milton Keynes' bird population. Results from previous BGBw surveys have been used in numerous conservation and species reports but most notably the State of Nature Report 2019.
The activity is simple and free to do and can be completed individually or as a family. You can record your results online or the RSPB will send you a pack through the post to your home address. You will need to submit your results before 19th February. As far as equipment goes you do not really need anything except the recording sheet showing pictures of the garden birds. Binoculars would be useful but not essential.
To encourage more birds to visit your garden you could start putting out a selection of food, such as wild bird seed, sunflower hearts or peanuts some days before your survey day to encourage birds into your garden. But please do not stop feeding after you have completed your survey! Birds need extra help this time of the year when their usual food sources, such as berries, are scarce and foraging is difficult because the ground can be wet or frozen. We have a fun activity making natural birdfeeders using pinecones which you can follow here.
A saucer of water easily accessed by birds, but off the ground, is also great because all birds still need to drink and clean their feathers during the winter. You will need to regularly clean and, when necessary, replace the water.
If you are unsure on whether to join in, we think a quote from the RSPB Conservation Science team, says it all:
‘Whatever you see, wherever you are, it counts!’