Last weekend was the UK’s largest citizen science project – the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch.
For the 42nd time, thousands of brits up and down the country took up their binoculars, put the kettle on and spent 1 hour identifying and counting all the species of birds in their chosen area, be it garden or park.
This project provides the RSPB with vital data regarding the population of our species of birds we find all over the country, and even exotic ones that may be a bit lost! As well as assessing population dynamics over more than 40 years, the data you collect also helps increase our awareness of the challenges our wildlife face in the UK today.
With the UK in lockdown, it is hoped that a record number of people participated in the survey (if not, why not? It is a fabulous excuse for tea and cake and an hour to yourself, if not for the joy of watching our garden species and contributing to vital conservation science). Although the weekend is now over, there is still time to submit your results if you haven’ t already. The deadline for data submission is Friday 19th February online. If you have completed it on paper, then please make sure you post your results before Monday 15th February.
An important point to make is that just because the Big Garden Birdwatch is over for another year, it doesn’t mean that you should stop feeding you garden birds or admiring them. In the UK, we are not out of winter yet, and as I write this, snow is falling outside my window, and there has been a deluge of birds to the garden to take advantage of the food and water we have provided.
Please continue to provide high energy food, such as mealworms, sunflower hearts, kibbled peanuts and fat blocks. This will really help all bird species in your area and by doing so, you are actively helping conserve them for the appreciation of all. Also, in this freezing weather, do make sure that all sources of water are defrosted. Either empty and take a dish inside at night and replace with fresh water when you get up, or use recently boiled water to melt frozen water in your bird dishes and bird baths.