Every year, bird lovers and nature enthusiasts eagerly await the arrival of the Big Garden Birdwatch. During the last weekend in January, this national event brings people across the United Kingdom together in order to celebrate the beauty of our garden birds and contribute to important conservation efforts.
The Big Garden Birdwatch, organised by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), is the world's largest citizen science project. It encourages everyone to participate in a simple yet powerful activity: observing and recording the birds that visit their outdoor spaces. This valuable data helps scientists and conservationists monitor bird populations, track changes over time, and identify species that may be at risk.
One of the highlights of the Big Garden Birdwatch is the opportunity to see a wide variety of bird species. From the familiar and colourful garden birds like the Robin and Blue Tit, to rarer visitors like the Goldcrest and Long-Tailed Tit. There's always a chance to spot something special during the event. Over the years, the Big Garden Birdwatch has also provided important data on the decline of some bird species, which has helped to raise awareness about their conservation status and the need for action to protect them.
In addition to counting birds, the Big Garden Birdwatch also encourages participants to take note of other wildlife they see during their observation hour, such as mammals, amphibians, and insects. This helps to create a more comprehensive picture of the biodiversity in our gardens and local parks and underscores the importance of protecting not just wild birds, but all forms of wildlife and their habitats.
This activity also serves as a reminder of the vital role that gardens play in supporting wildlife. As natural habitats continue to be lost or degraded due to human activities, gardens are becoming increasingly important as havens for birds and other wildlife. By providing food, water, and shelter, gardens play a crucial role in wildlife corridors, helping to connect fragmented habitats and create safe spaces for birds to breed, feed, and rest.
The data collected during the Big Garden Birdwatch is more than just a snapshot of bird populations; it has real-world applications for conservation efforts. The long-term data collected by participants helps scientists track changes in bird populations, identify trends, and understand the factors that may be affecting bird populations, such as climate change, habitat loss, and disease. This information is then used by the RSPB and other conservation organisations to inform policies and strategies for protecting birds and their habitats, and to guide conservation efforts on a national level.
In 2023, the Big Garden Birdwatch attracted 540,00 nature lovers to look out for and count the wild birds across three days. And the results are in …
The House Sparrow is at the top again this year, for the 20th year in a row. Their numbers have remained pretty stable over the years with signs of increase in some parts of the UK. Find out more about House Sparrows in our guide.
The Blue Tit came in second place for the third year in a row. This familiar favourite is always the entertainer at feeders. Breading season has started for these wonderful birds (March-July) so you’ll likely start to see lots nests popping up. Find out more about the Blue Tit.
In third place we have another non-mover the Starling. A noisy yet vibrant bird, unfortunately their population is still in decline. Find out more about Starlings.
Other birds featuring in the top 10
- Wood Pigeon
- Great Tit
- Long Tailed Tit
Find out more about these birds in our bird identifier guide
If you’d like to take part in next years Big Garden Birdwatch visit https://www.rspb.org.uk/get-involved/activities/birdwatch/
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