BIG GARDEN BIRD WATCH 2023
By Poppy Nicol
We kicked off the Global Gardens 2023 events programme with a Big Garden Bird Watch.
The RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch is the UK's largest citizen science wildlife survey. Running since 1979, last year over 700,000 people took part.
The premise is very simple. Spend one hour in a spot and observe the birds that land. Only record birds you see landing at the same time. So, for example, if you see two birds of the same species, only record them both if you see them at the same time. However, if you can identify the difference between male and female bird species, then you can record the siting even if they are spotted at different times.
Results help build an understanding around how birds are doing in the UK and areas of concern. For example, there has been a steady decline of Song Thrush sitings over the last 44 years. Sitings of Song Thrush have declined by 81% compared to the first RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch in 1979. They are now on the Conservation Status Amber list.
Global Gardens Spottings
This year we did the bird watch in the Global Gardens Community Orchard.
-2 Blackbirds (one male, one female)
-6 Feral pigeons
-4 Wood pigeons (you can distinguish a wood pigeon from a feral pigeon because they have orange beaks)
-2 Blue Tits
-5 House sparrows
-2 Carrion crows
-1 Song Thrush
It was a particular pleasure to see the Song thrush hopping about in the undergrowth after learning about their decline.
Spotting Song Thrushes
If you find lots of snail shells, it can be a sign of the presence of Song Thrushes . Song Thrushes specialise in feeding on snails, hitting them against hard objects to open. They also eat earthworms, caterpillars, beetles and fruits in autumn. The Song Thrush can be identified with its creamy spotted breast and medium brown upper part. They can be rather discrete asides from when they sing their tuneful extended phrases.. You can find out mre about the Song Thrush and listen to a recording of their song on the RSPB website.
Supporting Song Thrushes
At Global Gardens we are trying to support Song Thrushes and other birds on the conservation list by:
1. Gardening organically and not using any harmful pesticides or herbicides.
2. Leaving scrubby patches asides for nesting and overwintering habitat.
3. Planting native shrubs and trees to enhance nesting and overwintering habitat and food supply. This includes native shrubs and trees that have berries such as Hawthorn, Rowan and Sloe - an important food source for birds in the autumn.
Find out more about the RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch and sign up for taking part next year here.
Robin photo by volunteer Ben.