Join in with the RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch this weekend

Over half a million people took part in Big Garden Birdwatch across the UK in 2023, counting an incredible 9.1 million birds over the course of the weekend.
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In Scotland alone, more than 36,000 people took part last year – counting more than 670,000 birds.

And the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds is hoping even more will take part in the count this weekend.

Readers are being asked to choose an hour between Friday, January 26 and Sunday, January 28, to count the birds in their garden or a green space close to home.

House sparrow has remained top of the pecking order for 20 years in the UK, 12 in Scotland. (Pics: RSPB Images)House sparrow has remained top of the pecking order for 20 years in the UK, 12 in Scotland. (Pics: RSPB Images)
House sparrow has remained top of the pecking order for 20 years in the UK, 12 in Scotland. (Pics: RSPB Images)

Last year, house sparrows took the top spot but counts of these chirpy birds are down by 57 per cent compared to the first Birdwatch in 1979 and nearly 22 million house sparrows have been lost from the UK since 1966.

With birds facing so many challenges, it’s more important than ever to get involved in the Birdwatch. Every bird you do – or don’t – count will give the RSPB a valuable insight into bird welfare.

Beccy Speight, RSPB chief executive, said: “With so many people sending in their sightings, Big Garden Birdwatch really helps paint a picture of how our garden birds are faring.

“Last year, we celebrated the 20 year stint of the House Sparrow at number one. However, the numbers speak for themselves when it comes to the startling declines of some of our once common birds.

Starling was in number two spot in both the UK and Scotland in 2023.Starling was in number two spot in both the UK and Scotland in 2023.
Starling was in number two spot in both the UK and Scotland in 2023.

“They no longer have the abundance across the UK that they used to have. We are in a nature and climate emergency and we’ve lost 38 million birds from our skies in the last 50 years.

“By taking part, you can play an important role in helping us understand how birds are doing – every count matters.”

This year’s event marks 45 years since the first Big Garden Birdwatch. Starting in 1979, it has since become a much-loved annual citizen science event.

Over that time, 185 million birds have been counted and nearly 11.5 million hours spent watching and counting garden birds.

This weekend is a chance for people of all ages to count the number of birds that visit their garden, balcony or local park or green space.

To find out more, visit www.rspb.org.uk/whats-happening/big-garden-birdwatch/submission.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​