Just as January’s chill begins to take hold over the UK, citizen scientists all over the UK kitted in pyjamas and armed with cups of tea and biscuits, took to their windows to take part in the UK’s biggest science projects in the UK – of course I’m talking about the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch!
Every year a huge cross section of society gets stuck in to help our wildlife, by recording the amount of different birds which visit your garden in one hour. This year the RSPB celebrated 40 years of this project, and in those 40 years they have collected data which has been hugely important in protecting and helping our wildlife when they need it.
Here’s a run down of who turned up to my garden during the hour. It’s certainly not a showy list, but I’m happy to report that some birds who really need a helping hand are at least having a good square meal over at mine!
My trusty flock of feral pigeons which raid every garden surrounding the mini roundabout outside my house arrive on queue as I get up to top up their ground feeders tray. They’re daft but I love them. A nice round 10 of them turned up.
Next up is the starling, the star of my show! Whilst I only counted 8 in my patch, I saw many more flying above and into the gardens around mine with their tell tale noisy chattering. Starlings are one of the poster birds for the BGBW, but not for the right reasons.
Since the study began, starling numbers have dropped a disastrous 66%, struggling to cope with the vast changes us humans are creating. My rabble descend on the feeder to have a go at suet balls, and they really make short work of them! As they near breeding season they will get shiny and iridescent, a real treat on a sunny spring day.
Last, but not least, are my little family of house sparrows. Another bird who has seen their numbers plummet during these 40 years, down 50%. I had a small group of 3 pop by to eat the fat balls and some seed from the small seed feeder, but they didn’t stick round for long.
I used to have a much larger group but they seem to have dwindled. Some houses up the road have been having building work done and I’m worried that they’ve sealed up any suitable nest sites and not replaced with boxes yet. Fingers crossed they bounce back.
And that’s it for another year! Last year I did my count at my local park so I have nothing to compare my results to, but I’m gonna stick to a plan now to repeat next years watch in my garden to see how things change.
I’m really interested to see everyone else’s results! What did you see?
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