Setting up my chair in the kitchen with the doors open to the garden, my camera, my notepad and pen and my breakfast on the kitchen table, I was ready to beginning the annual Big Garden Birdwatch.
At 8.30am the weather was still overcast, but the birds had already been up and about for a few hours on the feeders, just waiting to be counted.
The Big Garden Bird Watch, run by the RSPB, was first started in 1979 as a way to get children involved in a winter weekend activity. Junior members were asked to count the birds in their garden as a way for the RSPB to gather data on the UK’s top ten most common garden birds. Now half a million people take part, of all ages and backgrounds, and from all over the country, whether urban or rural. Making it one of the most popular citizen science projects.
This year my family have introduced a lot more feeding areas to the garden, so it was much harder to keep count of all the birds as they moved around.
The Wood pigeons are obvious, they glide in from the next door field scattering the smaller birds who for a split second must think it is a predator.
The Long Tailed Tits are fairly easy, you can hear them coming with their constant contact calls which they use to make sure they are all together. They jostle and push but eventually all 10 managed to fit on to one feeder.
Two Pied Wagtails bob along on the path picking up the the food that has been knock off the feeder. The Jackdaws noisily arrive, landing in the Silver birch tree and although appear very boisterous, are actually quite wary, flying down grabbing something and flying back to a safe distance.
As the hour went on the sun came out, the Robins continued to hassle the Dunnocks. The Blue tits hopped in and out of the hedge and the Chaffinches patiently waited in the Hazel tree for their turn on the bird table.
Overhead a Raven called on its daily pass by and a Red Kite circled a few times before heading in to the field behind our garden. Not a bad hours big watching.
Here is what I saw overall:
- 2 Dunnocks
- 7 Blue tits
- 1 Coal tit
- 3 Blackbirds
- 2 Pied wag tails
- 2 Robins
- 2 Great tits
- 2 Wood pigeon
- 5 Jackdaws
- 2 Chaffinch
- 4 House Sparrows
- x2 Canada Geese
- x1 Raven
- x1 Red Kite
Front Garden feeders
- 10 Long Tailed Tits
- 3 Collared Doves
- 2 Greenfinch
I’ve put my results from the past 3 years in a chart.
My results were quite similar to the previous two years except the fall in Blue tit numbers. That could have been due to our garden recently being visited by a Sparrow hawk.
This year we have 2 garden Robins who tolerate each other at the moment but that may change once Spring arrives.
The Pied Wagtails are a recent addition, spending hours each day in the garden over the past few months. This is also the first year we have had regular visits from House Sparrows.