Most of you will have received a personalised survey sheet with Birds magazine and I hope you will take an hour to count the birds you see in your garden, or on your selected patch. The information the RSPB receives is vital in judging the health of bird populations throughout the country.
Malcolm, Sally, Sue, Irene and others will be assisiting Millbrook Garden Centre in their BirdWatch event over this weekend and they will be delighted to see you – and if anyone would like to help please contact me.
The following is a Media Release I received from the RSPB about the event which may be of interest
“WHICH BIRD WILL BE TOP OF THE TREE FOR KENT IN 2012?
Residents across Kent 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 charity is appealing for more sets of eyes than ever before to step up for nature and help record the fortunes of our garden visitors given the mild winter conditions.
Last year, a record breaking 20,481 people in Kent joined over 600,000 people across the UK, spotting the birds in their garden and helping to reveal a recovery for small birds.
The results put the starling as Kent’s most common bird in 2011, followed by house sparrows and blue tits.
Samantha Stokes, of the RSPB South East, said: “Because this survey takes place each January it’s always interesting to compare results, especially if we’ve had a particularly harsh or mild winter.
“As well as helping us track the ups and downs of garden birds, if you take part in the Big Garden Birdwatch you’ll have the perfect excuse to sit down with a cuppa and enjoy the wildlife living alongside you.
“Everyone can get involved. You don’t have to be a birdwatcher – just enjoy watching the birds as they perch on branches, hang from feeders and swoop in and out of their nests in your garden.
“By taking part, you’ll contribute to the biggest garden bird event in the world and you won’t even have to leave the warmth of your armchair!”
Big Garden Birdwatch is one of the first indicators to show how well UK birds have fared during the previous breeding season and winter. With over half a million people taking part each year and over 30 years worth of data the results give an early indication of garden bird trends.
Recent harsh winters have seen some garden bird population’s drop, only to make a comeback after a good breeding season the following year.
The results from this year’s survey will show whether they have managed to maintain their numbers or even increased with the mild weather.
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.
Miss Stokes continued: “It’s important 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. Over half a million people can’t be wrong and that’s why the survey is so important.
“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.”
So 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.
For more information, and to submit your results online, please visit the RSPB website www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch
• The top 10 species of birds recorded across Kent’s gardens in 2011
Species Average per garden Rank % of gardens
Starling 5.048 1 64.17
House sparrow 4.620 2 68.79
Blue tit 3.203 3 84.27
Blackbird 2.844 4 94.47
Collared dove 2.346 5 75.44
Woodpigeon 2.040 6 70.72
Chaffinch 1.789 7 54.27
Great tit 1.414 8 54.57
Robin 1.322 9 83.35
Goldfinch 1.140 10 27.42
The RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch is part of Stepping Up for Nature, the RSPB’s latest campaign to help save nature. See www.rspb.org.uk/steppingup for more information.
The RSPB speaks out for birds and wildlife, tackling the problems that threaten our environment. Nature is amazing – help us keep it that way.
Click here to join today: www.rspb.org.uk/join.
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is a registered charity: England and Wales no. 207076