This weekend marks RSPB’s annual Big Garden Birdwatch. I try to take part in this every year. All you need to do is set aside an hour to count how many different types of birds you find in your garden. I started doing this a couple of years ago when I was living back home and my mum has continued the tradition since I moved across the water.
Prior to 2013 I had an idea of what a birdwatcher might look like and it’s fair to say, it’s not a group I would have identified with: older men, head to toe in mud coloured clothes, socks with sandals and a little, well, dull. While some birdwatchers may well fit into that category I was delighted to learn that it’s one of the most accessible activities that you can do – anytime, anywhere and it won’t cost you a penny.
I get such a kick out of seeing wildlife in the garden. It’s very soothing to be able to just switch off for a bit and enjoy a less complicated pace for an hour. The great thing about Big Garden Birdwatch is it’s a great introduction to understanding the birds that visit your garden. The Society collates all the submitted results to monitor trends among different species and if there is a species that is in decline they advise what we can do to help support it. If you’re new to birdwatching and don’t know your blue tit from your bullfinch – I could count the birds I knew on one hand when I started out – take a look at the RSPB website which has pictures of every species you can find in the UK. You can also play audio files so you can learn to identify birds by their song.
Since mum and I started doing the survey her garden has become a haven for wildlife and it’s not unusual to hear the happy chatter of birdsong each morning as our feathered friends flock to mum’s various feeders. Each year the numbers we survey swell and it really is such a joy to see them each day.
When I first came to London I was lucky to have a very small garden at the back of our flat. Even though our little garden was something of a rarity given the thousands of flats surrounding us little by little we saw blackbirds and woodpigeons visiting our homemade feeders.
Now I’ve moved to a new part of the city I am among the luckiest of Londoners and have a much bigger garden. Together with my housemates I’ve been working to make it a home for nature. First on the list was a great bird feeding station. I got this one from Lidl for under a tenner and set about assembling it ahead of my survey.
Feeder filled with a variety of tasty treats – sunflower seeds, fat balls, mealworms and seed mixes – I settled in to take part, eager to see if Kevin Costner was really right when he said “If you build it they will come.” And come they did! We had quite a view visitors from great tits to house sparrows with a couple of magpies swooping down from the trees. A pair of blackbirds hoovered up any spills from the ground below.
But the star of the show was this very cheeky grey squirrel who, despite stern shooing from me, defiantly sat in amongst the seed mix and gorged on the free meal. Incidentally, he is also the only visitor who was happy to pose for a picture!
And now the time has come to announce the winner of my January Giveaway. Thanks so much to everyone who followed and shared the post – it’s lovely to have you here! To be in with a chance of winning you just had to follow my blog, either via WordPress or Bloglovin’, so existing followers were automatically entered. The winner was picked totally at random and I’m delighted to announce that Tassy from Tassy Bakes IT’S YOU! I’m looking forward to seeing what recipe the chocolate drops make it into. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will get your prize in the post to you this weekend.
Thanks again to everyone who took part and see you on Wednesday!
Until then have a great start to the week!