Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Garden birds in Merseyside need you

The world’s biggest ever wildlife survey - the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch - takes place on Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 January 2011 and we need you.

Last year, over half a million participants recorded 8.5 million birds across 280,000 gardens, helping us monitor the birds visiting our gardens over the winter period.

In Merseyside more than 5,000 people took part in last year’s survey, recording the blackbird as the most common garden bird in the county (1).

This year we’re looking for even more people in Merseyside to take part. We really could do with your help as the more results we receive, the clearer the picture we can paint of the situation. We are particularly interested in finding out what effect the freezing conditions have had on species of garden birds.

Taking part in Big Garden Birdwatch is simple and it’s suitable for all the family. The survey provides a fun and educational activity in the depths of winter.

Carolyn Jarvis, the RSPB’s People Engagement Manager for Northern England, said: “Big Garden Birdwatch is great for the whole family to do together.

“It only takes an hour, but taking part can make a real difference to our knowledge of garden birds, helping us to work out which ones are doing well and which ones need help.”

If you haven’t got children, use the Birdwatch as a great excuse to sit back and watch the wildlife outside your window for 60 minutes of your day.

Carolyn continues: “You don’t even have to leave the comfort of your home to take part – in fact, it is better if you stay indoors so as not to disturb the birds in your garden.”

Results from 2010 survey provided a good understanding of how birds were coping with the prolonged cold spell we experienced at the start of last year. Unusually high numbers of countryside birds like fieldfares and bullfinches were spotted in Merseyside gardens. More usually found in fields and farmland trees and hedgerows, these birds visited our gardens for food when they couldn’t find enough in their usual haunts.

To do your bit for garden birds, simply spend one hour over the weekend 29/30 January 2011 counting the birds in your garden or local park and record the highest number of every bird species seen at any one time.

The RSPB and partners are also running lots of Big Garden Birdwatch events and activities across the UK leading up to and over the weekend of 29 and 30 January.

Over at Sefton Park Palm House on 23 January, the RSPB’s Liverpool Local Group are setting up a variety of bird feeders and will be on hand to give advice on bird identification and looking after wildlife in your garden (noon to 4pm).

For further information and online resources to help you with your birdwatch, visit the RSPB website, An online results form will be available from Saturday 29 January until 18 February 2011.

Alternatively, call 0300 456 8330 to request a Big Garden Birdwatch form to be sent to you (calls charged at standard rate). The hotline number will be in operation until 28 January.

Last years most numerous Merseyside bird was the blackbird.

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