Rural Reading: Join RSPB Big Garden BirdwatchBy Adrian Lawson
January 28, 2011
This weekend is the weekend of the Big Garden Birdwatch.
I hope many people will be looking out into their gardens for a few minutes over the weekend to see what birds visit. The organisers are also keen for people to visit their local park or gardens to see what birds might live there too.
This has become a big annual event and over many years has helped scientists work out what birds are doing well and what birds are struggling. It is through this huge annual survey that we know sparrows and starlings are declining and other birds doing rather better.
I am a bit of an obsessive bird feeder. I have all sorts of food from the ordinary peanuts, sunflower seeds and seeds especially for reed bunting and goldfinches to slices of apple hanging in the plum tree and bits of cheese and left over hamburger hanging on hooks in the willow tree. The long-tailed tits love these. I even have a bit of Christmas pudding which is proving popular with the blackcaps.
The overgrown sedges around the pond provide a secure site for spiders to hide for the winter, which attract wrens who probe about looking for them. So it isn’t just about the food, but also the way the garden is managed.
I never get pied wagtails, but just down the road the concrete driveway is popular for this charming little bird when all the cars have gone during the day.
I have no house sparrows either now, despite all the food, but my front garden, where I never put food, is often full of them chirruping from the hedge.
Gradually, with the help of thousands of other people a picture is being built up that helps work out what is happening.
So even if you don’t feed the birds, do the birdwatch.
It is well worth it.
For more information visit www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch/