Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Day 73 - Preparing for The Big Garden Birdwatch 24-25 of January

Hi all, today's Day 73 but before I start I just want to say that in my opinion, 73 is the best number. Here's why. 73 is the 21st prime number. Its mirror, 37, is the 12th prime number. 12 is the mirror of 21. Also 21 is the product of multiplying the two digits of 73. 7x3=21. :-)

Anyway as you can see from the title today I am going to be explaining what the Big Garden Birdwatch is in case you don`t know already, and how to prepare for it.

So I will start with what the Big Garden Birdwatch actually is. It is an event that is held once a year in January over the space of a Weekend where people are encouraged to look for birds for an hour. They can do this in their own gardens, looking out of windows over roads, parks etc. or visiting woods, parks etc. They record what they see and then submit their results to the RSPB who then collect everyone's results from the whole country and then analyse and publish in their bi-monthly magazine and on their website.

Why Do The RSPB Do This?

Because it's a great way of finding out how healthy our countryside is and what species of birds are doing well or not so well. Last year 7,000,000 birds were spotted by half a million of us. That's an average of 14 birds per person.

The top ten birds spotted and recorded last year were:

1. House sparrow
2. Blue tit
3. Starling
4. Blackbird
5. Woodpigeon
6. Chaffinch
7. Goldfinch
8. Great tit
9. Collared dove
10. Robin

Some of the rarer visitors in gardens are lapwings (13 gardens), waxwings (30 gardens), grey partridges (65 gardens), barn owls (107 gardens) and chiffchaffs (126 gardens.)

The results from last year (and previous years) showed that, worryingly, house sparrows, greenfinches, starlings and song thrushes are in decline and are now a red status, because despite numbers being high for house sparrows and starlings, their numbers have plummeted over the years and experts are urgently wanting to find out why this could be. It will therefore be interesting to see this year's results and see if there are any improvements. (Fingers crossed.)

Here are some things that we can do to help:

It is recommended to keep some of your grass short because starlings like the little bugs that live in it. But also, house sparrows like long grass as it provides a great feeding habitat. As well as this, it's important to keep bird tables and feeders clean as birds can pick up infections which can lead to diseases like Trichomonosis.

How to prepare for the Big Garden Birdwatch:

  1. Make sure your feeders and bird table(s) are clean.
  2. Stock up on a range of bird food and seed which will attract different species e.g. niger seeds attracts finches, peanuts attract long-tailed tits etc.
  3. Get a pen and print off a spotter sheet as can be found here. Also there is an app for this. You can find out about this when you register. Or, of course, you could just use a note pad.
  4. Find a comfortable spot, get out your binoculars, grab a mug of your favourite hot drink (and a biccie) and get spotting!
  5. After an hour tally up your results, and then submit them to the RSPB.
By the way, because we now have a bird club at school (which I introduced :-) our school is also going to be taking part in the Big Schools' Birdwatch for the first time!

Here is a link to the RSPB site:

Hope you all have a great time, I know we will.

Hope you enjoyed,



  1. I'm definitely doing the Birdwatch, I'm all ready and looking forward to it. Long-tailed tits were the most prolific bird last year - it is interesting to compare -though I sort of know my visitors as I do watch them quite a lot anyway!

  2. Hi Jennifer, I'm looking forward to it too. I might be doing it in three places, home, at school with bird club and possibly with North York Moors National Park at Sutton Bank. I know the birds at home, a little bit at school but not really at all at Sutton Bank so that would be exciting if we do.