How to take part in the RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch in East Sussex

blue tit rspbIf you live in East Sussex, the RSPB wants your help.

It'll only take an hour of your time and will provide valuable data for the RSPB's nationwide study.

The Big Garden Birdwatch first took place back in 1979 and since then, the RSPB have been conducting the survey every year to see what birds are becoming more common in our gardens, and which ones are on the decline.

Sara Humphrey from the RSPB says:

“The 2016 results for East Sussex showed a significant rise in smaller birds such as great tits and goldfinches using our gardens to find food. Despite this boost in numbers many other of our garden favourites are struggling”.

“Starlings continue to feature in the top three visitors to East Sussex gardens, but were recorded in 8.6 per cent fewer gardens than in 2015. This decline continues a national trend that has seen the number of starlings visiting gardens decline by 81 per cent since the first Birdwatch in 1979”.

The actual survey takes place over a 3 day period - From Saturday 28th to Monday 30th January.

Take part in the bird watching survey

In order to participate in the study, all you need to do is set aside one hour of your free time. The hour you choose can be anytime of the day on any of the above dates. Although an hour in the morning is recommended, any other time during daylight hours is also fine if mornings aren't convenient for you.

What to do

During your chosen hour, only count birds that actually land in your garden (don't include ones flying over). Record the highest number of each bird species that you see at any one time. Then answer the other questions in the survey about other wildlife species that visit your garden during the year. Don’t worry if you don’t see anything over the hour, as it’s still really useful information.

Food and water

If you want to attract more birds into your garden before the study begins, it's important to make sure you have the right types of food to attract a range of different species. During this time of year, many birds benefit from high fat foods to protect them during cold spells. These can include grated cheese, bird seeds, whole nuts, bird cakes and sunflower hearts, which all helps survive the winter weather. Also don't forget to put out water for them too.

Get a free Study Pack to participate

The RSPB have produced a great PDF document containing more information about the survey. It also contains a handy calendar and pictures of all the different species you're likely to see - Download it here.

Take part in the Big Garden Birdwatch by visiting this page of the RSPB's website

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