This weekend (29th & 30th January) sees the the RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch. You can sign up here to take part.
What is needed ?
- an hour of your time
- a pen or pencil
- some paper or a print out of the RSPB's bird ID sheet
- a place to observe (garden / local park)
During the course of the hour, you record the highest number of each bird species in your garden.
The BGBW has been running for many years; it has helped build a picture of what is happening to various bird populations. Given that we and wildlife have just experienced one of the coldest Decembers in many years, it will be interesting to see how this year's results compare with previous years'. Extended periods of cold weather can lead to rather strange combinations and / or numbers of birds in gardens / towns and cities as they struggle and compete for available food.
An early onset to winter can make it more difficult for the birds to find berries, fruits, worms, insect pupae etc so that they do not build up the body fat, which helps with the maintenance of body temperature. It may be that smaller birds (e.g. wrens) have been affected more than larger birds. Perhaps species that are usually associated with woodlands or open ground (for example, blackcaps) will visit our gardens / towns as their 'usual' feeding grounds are (or have been) frozen solid or covered in snow.