The countdown has commenced for the world’s biggest garden wildlife survey – and more people in South Yorkshire than ever before are being called upon to take part in the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch.
Now in its 36th year, the popular event from January 24-25, is fun for all ages and it’s easy to join in.
Simply count the birds in your garden or local park for one hour over Big Garden Birdwatch weekend and tell the RSPB what you see.
And for the second time in the event’s history, participants are also being asked to log some of the other wildlife which snuffles and settles in their gardens and local parks, and this year there are two new additions to the survey list; slow worms and grass snakes.
To help people prepare for the Big Garden Birdwatch, RSPB staff and volunteers will be on hand at RSPB Old Moor nature reserve, near Barnsley, to give advice on how to identify the birds and animals which live on our doorstep and provide information on making gardens more attractive to wildlife.
Jo Keene, RSPB Senior People Engagement Manager in Northern England, said: “Whether it’s the first time you are taking part in the Big Garden Birdwatch, or you’re already an expert, there are plenty of ways to prepare and join in.
“To take part, all you need to do is spend an hour over the weekend of 24-25 January and count the birds in your garden, it’s that simple. It’s a fantastic way to discover the wildlife on your doorstep and it really helps the RSPB to gain a vital snapshot of garden bird numbers in winter and highlight any dramatic declines, as bird populations are a great indicator of the health of the countryside.
“With the addition of other wildlife to the survey, such as hedgehogs, badgers and frogs, we are able to build up a better idea of how important our gardens are for providing homes for nature.
“Last year, around half a million people took part and seven million birds were counted, so we are hoping even more people join in this year, as the more people involved, the more we can learn. So join in and be part of the world’s biggest garden wildlife survey – without having to leave your sofa.”
Participants can record the birds as they see them directly onto a laptop, tablet or smartphone with an online bird counting tool or send results in the post.
To help attract wildlife into your garden, there are plenty of tips for helping to give nature a home where you live on the RSPB website. No matter how big or small your outside space, there’s something you can do to make a difference. Visit www.rspb.org.uk/homes for more information.
Register to take part in Big Garden Birdwatch 2015 at www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch. Alternatively, call 0300 456 8330.