Garden birds to be counted in world’s biggest survey
RSPB Cymru is appealing for people to take part in the biggest bird count in the world to help uncover the fortunes of Wales’ favourite garden birds.
The annual Big Garden Birdwatch has been run by the RSPB for more than 30 years and gives the conservation charity a valuable insight into the strength of bird populations.
Dana Thomas from RSPB Cymru said: “Taking part in Big Garden Birdwatch not only helps the RSPB track the ups and down of garden birds, it gives participants the perfect excuse to sit down with a cup of tea and enjoy the wildlife that they share their outside space with.
“You’ll be a part of the biggest garden bird event in the world and you won’t even have to leave the warmth of your armchair!”
Recent harsh winters have seen some garden bird populations drop, only to make a comeback after a good breeding season the following year.
Last year, some of Wales’ smallest garden birds bounced back, and the wildlife charity wants to know whether they have managed to maintain their numbers.
With thousands of people taking part each year across Wales and more than 30 years’ worth of data, the results give an early indication of garden bird trends.
But if even more people take part, the scale of the ups and downs of our garden birds will become even clearer.
“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 and breeding starlings,” Ms Thomas said.
“It’s important that 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.
“There’s nothing else like it on this scale, and as well as getting thousands of people enjoying wildlife, it actually helps protect nature by showing the RSPB where we need to focus our efforts.”
Last year’s Big Garden Birdwatch results showed the starling topping the leader board in Wales with an average of seven visits per garden, knocking the house sparrow off the top spot.
More than 5,000 school children and teachers took part in the schools version of the survey last year, Big Schools’ Birdwatch.
The UK-wide survey of wildlife in schools, which celebrated its 10th birthday this year, introduces thousands of children to the wildlife visiting their school environment.
Nearly 200 classes were involved in Wales, which was a record-breaking number for the survey.
Big Garden Birdwatch events will take place around Wales over the weekend of January 28-29. Visitors will be able to pick up useful tips and advice on how to care for garden birds, with bird-cake making activities among other things organised for children.
To take part in Big Garden Birdwatch, simply spend one hour over the weekend of January 28-29 counting the birds in your garden or local park, and record the highest number of each bird species seen at any one time.
Source: Wales Online