Birds, tea, and the whole family – it’s the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch time!


Every year at the end of January there’s a free, fun event for adults and children alike that you can do from the comfort of your own couch with a cup of tea. Big Garden Birdwatch!

Run by the RSPB, the Birdwatch is now the world’s largest wildlife survey, and to take part all you need to do is to look out your window for an hour, or take a stroll in a local park, and let them know what birds you see.

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Photo credit: Louise Greenhorn (rspb-images.com)

Why take part?

Not only is it good fun, but what you see also helps the RSPB learn how garden birds are doing. Last year, for example, almost 700,000 people took part in the Birdwatch, counting more than 11 million birds. All that information tells us which birds are going up and down – last year the Jay moved up 9 places to number 23, an increase of 73% compared to 2021 numbers. Over its four decades, the Big Garden Birdwatch has highlighted the winners and losers in the garden bird world. It was first to alert the RSPB to the decline in song thrush numbers, which are still down 81% compared to the first Big Garden Birdwatch in 1979, showing us that we can never take our birds for granted.

What if I don’t know anything about birds?

Everyone can take part, whether you’re a keen bird lover or don’t yet know a robin from a blackbird! We’ll be on hand to help the whole time through email and social media, and when you sign up we’ll send you a free Big Garden Birdwatch guide which includes a bird identification chart, top tips for your birdwatch, RSPB shop voucher, plus advice on how to help you attract wildlife to your garden.

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Photo credit: Eleanor Bentall (rspb-images.com)

Can kids take part at school?

Kids can also take part in the Big Schools’ Birdwatch, which celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2021. Big Schools’ Birdwatch runs parallel to the Big Garden Birdwatch and is a school-based activity where students can watch and count the birds in their school grounds. Tens of thousands of children take part each year, and we then combine those results with the Big Garden Birdwatch for even more data.

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Photo credit: Andy Hay (rspb-images.com)

Brilliant, when is it? And how do I sign up?

The Big Garden Birdwatch will run from Friday 27 January through Sunday 29 January, so you can pick any hour over those three days to do it.

If you’d like to sign up, please visit www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch

If you’d like to take part in Big Schools Birdwatch, ask your teacher to head to http://www.rspb.org.uk/schoolswatch.

We hope to see you there!