Big Garden Birdwatch
With the Express & Echo joining in:
Can you spare an hour this weekend to help nature?
By Exeter Express and Echo | Posted: January 29, 2016
By Sue Kemp
There is still time to take part in the 2016 Big Garden Birdwatch survey this weekend.
Held every year by the RSPB, the survey seeks to help identify the state of the county's bird population.
Morwenna Alldis, spokesperson for the RSPB South West said: "We can all make a huge difference to the future of Devon's wildlife, by giving just one hour of our time across the weekend. The Big Garden Birdwatch is the world’s largest wildlife survey and the results that the public submit are vital in helping conservationists target their efforts towards the vulnerable wildlife that is counting on us for its survival."
And taking part couldn’t be easier, simply register now on the website at rspb.org.uk/birdwatch and download a free Birdwatch pack, which is full of helpful tips to make your Big Garden Birdwatch a real success. On registering you’ll also receive a £5 discount voucher off your next purchase in the RSPB Shop at Darts Farm, Topsham.
"Then pick a one-hour slot convenient to you across the Big Garden Birdwatch weekend, make yourself a brew, grab a few biscuit dunkers and settle down in front of your garden window to record what wildlife you see. If you don’t have a garden, just wrap up and nip to your local park to conduct your survey there," said Morwenna.
"After you’re done, submit your results either online, using our live Big Garden Birdwatch App or pop your survey form in the post – it’s as simple as that. We’re basically asking everyone to take an hour’s break to enjoy looking at nature, so not only is this survey great for our UK wildlife, it’s also brilliant for our mental wellbeing too, by helping us reconnect to the natural world.
“Once we have received everyone’s results RSPB experts analyse the data and are able to see which birds are doing well, and importantly, which species may be in trouble and in need of our extra support.
“Over half a million people take part in Big Garden Birdwatch each year and help us create a snapshot of how our feathered friends are faring throughout the UK. The more people that take part in the survey, the more detailed this wildlife snapshot will be and the better chance conservationists stand of identifying specific species which may be at risk and actively help them before it’s too late.
“Last year’s Big Garden Birdwatch results highlighted that greenfinches had dramatically dropped to 25th place on the most seen birds in our UK gardens. The reason for this decline is likely the disease Trichomonosis and as a result we are now urging people to regularly clean their feeders, bird tables and bird baths to help stop the disease from spreading.
“There is slightly better news for the house sparrow, as its long term decline appears to have continued to slow, and it remains the most commonly spotted bird in our gardens.”
Daniel Hayhow, RSPB Conservation Scientist said: “As well as counting their feathered friends, the RSPB is also asking participants to log some of the other wildlife they see in their gardens and green spaces such as hedgehogs, foxes, stoats and squirrels, to help build an overall picture of how important they are for giving nature a home.
Daniel added: “The threats to our wildlife means that it’s facing tough times. For example it is estimated that we’ve lost more than half of our hedgehogs in the last 50 years. We're going to include this part of the survey every year now, enabling us to monitor the distribution of our other wildlife as well as trends in bird numbers."
The survey is part of the RSPB’s Giving Nature a Home campaign, aimed at tackling the housing crisis facing the UK’s threatened wildlife. The RSPB is asking people to provide a place for wildlife in their own gardens and outside spaces – whether it’s putting up a nest box for birds, creating a pond to support a number of different species or building a home for a hedgehog. The Big Garden Birdwatch is just one of the steps you can take to help nature near you. Wherever you live, you can help give nature a home.
Can you spare an hour this weekend to help nature? | Exeter Express and Echo