We are quickly approaching the next national Big Garden Birdwatch, organised by the RSPB, and registration is already open.
Share your sightings on our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/groups/wildcookham/)
This ‘citizen science’ survey of our garden birds has been running since 1979, and in 2020 almost half a million people participated, making it by far the largest survey of its kind world-wide. We encouraged that more of us might participate and boy, did we respond. More than DOUBLE that number contributed in January 21 – 1,019, 182 in fact! But there’s still room for plenty more to join in.
If you haven’t been involved previously, it is simply a matter of allocating an hour of your time to count the birds that come into your garden during a 3-day period. This can be a fun family event and all the resources needed are listed on the project web site (https://www.rspb.org.uk/get-involved/activities/birdwatch/)
The dates for the event are 28th – 30th January 2022. There are no prizes, and whether your garden is multiple acres full of hundreds of birds or a typical urban plot with a few feeders to attract ‘your’ regulars, all records are as important as any others to the scheme.
Through these records we get both a snap-shot of what was happening that particular year, but also an indication of what changes are occurring over time. Last year’s records for example showed a few position changes with Woodpigeon now down 1 position to 5th most-regularly seen visitor (a decade ago, it was far less frequent in gardens). House Sparrow continues to be the number one (for the 18th year running!) but now Long-tailed Tits have entered the top ten, another new phenomenon. Chaffinches however are much rarer in our gardens, reflecting dwindling numbers across the nation. Other changes in last year’s results were fewer Starlings and Goldfinches, but more Blackbirds, Robins and Magpies.
And if you need help identifying garden birds, go to our helpful guide at https://www.wildcookham.org.uk/guide-to-our-garden-birds
So do sign up on the RSPB site to take part. (www.rspb.org.uk/get-involved/activities/birdwatch/)
Although your records will need to go directly to the RSPB we would love to hear of the highlights of your findings in your Cookham garden, which can be shared on our facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/groups/wildcookham/)
There is also a Big Schools version of the event with special resources for teachers.