Big Garden BirdWatch 2016

Monday 4th January 2016

GoldFinch ~ © Ed MarshallGoldFinch ~ © Ed Marshall

The Big Garden Birdwatch is taking place on the 30th and 31st January this year; it started as a children’s activity in 1979, and the same simple format is still in use today. That means that 36 years worth of records have been collected for scientists to analyse! So why not join in? It's really simple and easy to do and only takes up an hour of your time!

Over half a million people took part in the Big Garden BirdWatch in 2015; Scilly was represented but we could definitely do better!

The 2015 results showed an increase in most of the top 20 birds compared to 2014, with the cheeky little House Sparrow retaining top spot (although still appearing on the Birds Of Conservation Concern 4 Red List released in December 2015 as a result of drastically lower population numbers overall).

Last years results put the Blackbird, House Sparrow and Song Thrush at the top of Scilly's Big Garden BirdWatch results (which may not be surprising for some) with the Pheasant, Red Legged Partridge and Wood Pidgeon appearing at the bottom.  

All in all 18 different types of bird were recorded in Scilly gardens and we're fairly confident that we could do better if more Scilly gardens were involved; so lets get Scilly on the RSPB Big GardenWatch bird map!

Why are birds being counted?

In 1979 the RSPB were looking for a simple winter activity that their junior members could get involved with; something that would get them out and about in their gardens at the weekend.  So they asked them to count birds.

The Blue Peter Editor at the time, Biddy Baxter, liked the idea so much she featured the survey in one of the programmes; as a result over 34,000 forms were completed and returned to the RSPB when they were only expecting a few hundred!

This one off activity has continued each year since, with adults being invited to join in 2001.  As a result of the Big Garden BirdWatch a record has been established of what is happening in our gardens, trends are being monitored and researchers are being assisted in understanding what is happening with our "garden birds".

In addition to birds the RSPB are now also asking their surveyors to count other wildlife that they see in their gardens; this was introduced last year and will be included in counts from now on!

This may be less relevant in Scilly as we do not have Badgers, Foxes or Snakes but we do have Shrews which may be active and if it's a particularly nice, warm January day the Bryher Slow Worms may make an appearance!

Taking Part.

Taking part couldn't be easier you can either go to the RSPB website and use their online counting tool or simply use a pen and a piece of paper; once you're done send the results in to the RSPB!

To find out more check out their website and sign up for their Big Garden BirdWatch Information Pack; this pack gives lots of useful information not only about the Big Garden BirdWatch but also about our Garden Birds and how we can help them in general, the types of food they prefer etc.

If you do decide to get involved don't forget to let us know!  

You can either do this via Twitter (@ScillyWildlife) or via our FaceBook Page (Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust) don't forget to use the RSPB's event hashtag

  • #biggardenbirdwatch



Tagged with: Events & Shows, Big Garden BirdWatch; #BigGardenBirdWatch; January 2016; RSPB