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, a record-breaking 1 million people took part in the Birdwatch, counting more than 17 million birds. All that information tells us which birds are going up and down – last year the house sparrow was in top spot for the 18th year running, with the blue tit overtaking the starling for second place. But sadly, 16 of the 20 species in the top 20 showed decline in average counts, showing us that we can never take any of 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.

2021 was of course a bit different from years before, with school closures and most students learning from home. The Big Schools Birdwatch was still done remotely, however, and helped children to continue feeling like one big class. We even partnered with BBC Teach to create live lessons about the Birdwatch!

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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 28 January through Sunday 30 January, so you can pick any hour over those three days to do it.

If you’d like to sign up, please text BIRD to 70030 or 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!