Today we had a bird-watching workshop at the garden, as part of the RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch (25-27 January 2020).
The RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch is one of the biggest citizen science projects in the world. Every year around half a million people in the UK set aside one hour to watch-out for birds in their garden or local green space. Information gathered from the weekend is used to gather information about bird populations and distribution across the UK.
Guided by Jonathan Prior, a local bird-watcher with a lot of bird wisdom to share, we put aside one hour to watch-out for birds at the Global Gardens plot.
Over the space of one hour, we identified 12 bird species at the plot.
Some of the first birds we noticed were the friendly robins. Affectionately known as the gardener's best friend, there are two Robins that are regularly seen flying about the Global Gardens site. Territorial birds, we found two others at the other end of the allotment site.
We also almost immediately heard the chatter of around House sparrows when we started to tune into bird song. Some of the most familiar birds you might see in domestic settings, they like to live around people and are often found gathering around trees and shrubs and even within house walls.
We also saw a number of members of the Tit family - including Blue Tit, Great Tit and Long Tailed Tit. Blue tits live in trees and shrubs but not on the ground. They have a distinctive blue crest with a yellow belly. Great Tits have yellow colouring and a black girdle (but no blue). They tend to sing in two-syllable song. The Long Tailed Tit has a long tail (surprise, surprise!) and a buff/pinkish belly with black and white tail feathers.
We learnt about Dunnocks - tawny birds with a greyish belly. Spotted flying through the brambley undergrowth. Other species spotted included a number of Blackbirds, Magpies and several Wood pigeons. darting overhead and resting in taller trees.
Two final surprises were 10 Goldfinches that flew overhead. Jonathan identified them from their distinctive sound, which you can listen to here as well as a Songthrush, with its melodic call. The RSPB have a fantastic database with identifying facts about most birds that can be spotted in the UK.
As we were wrapping up, we were lucky to spot one of the smallest birds in the UK - a Wren that flew out of the undergrowth to sing. The smallest birds in the UK are the Fire crest and Gold finch one to look out for in Cathays Cemetery and Bute Park.
There is still a chance to do the Big Garden Bird Watch. It's a fantastic way to slow down and start tuning in to the diverse melody around us!
This year we plan to host some more bird-watching activities at Global Gardens too, so watch this space.