Sunday, 10 January 2016

Big Garden Birdwatch - 30 and 31 January 2016

The countdown has commenced for the world’s biggest garden wildlife survey – and more people in Merseyside than ever before are being called upon to take part in the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch (January 30-31).
Now in its 37th year, the popular event 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.

The 2015 results showed an increase in most of the top 20 birds compared with 2014, thanks to over 585,000 pairs of eyes watching their gardens. The house sparrow retained top spot - who will be this year's hero?

And for the third 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 you prepare for the Big Garden Birdwatch, there are plenty of events taking place in Merseyside throughout January – from discovering how to attract more wildlife into your garden to gaining tips on how to identify the creatures which live on your doorstep.
Go along to RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands on Saturday 23 January between 11 am-3 pm to make a tasty bird cake which you can take home and hang in the garden to attract our feathered friends. RSPB staff and volunteers will also be on hand to offer advice about what to feed garden birds during the winter months. The event is free, but donations are welcome to cover costs of materials.
Learn how to recognise a variety of different garden birds at the reserve’s feeding station. Friendly staff will be able to help you brush up on identification skills in time for the Big Garden Birdwatch, as well as sharing tips on how to attract birds to your garden. Normal reserve entry charges apply for non-members. For more information call 0151 353 8478 or email

In the build-up to Big Garden Birdwatch weekend, head to Sefton Park’s Palm House on Sunday 24 January where members of RSPB Liverpool Local Group will be on hand to share plenty of tips and advice on how to make sure your Big Garden Birdwatch is a success. The free drop-in will run from 12 pm-4 pm. For more information, call 07831 352870 or email

“Last year, around half a million people took part and 8,546,845 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 for more information.

Register to take part in Big Garden Birdwatch 2016 at Alternatively, call 0300 456 8330.

Twitter,  #BigGardenBirdwatch.

World’s biggest school wildlife survey celebrates 15 years, with children in Merseyside set to join in the fun
RSPB Big Schools’ Birdwatch, 4 January- 12 February 2016
Tens of thousands of schoolchildren across the UK, including Merseyside, will be peering out of their classroom windows this month to take part in the world’s biggest school wildlife survey.
Now in its 15th year, the RSPB’s Big Schools’ Birdwatch [note 2] helps to track numbers of birds in school grounds, giving the charity an insight into the wildlife which is doing well or not so well, and providing schoolchildren with a great learning experience.
Running from 4 January- 12 February 2016, the survey encourages schoolchildren of all ages, and their teachers, to count the birds in their school grounds for one hour of one day. Each school’s findings help the RSPB’s experts to build a picture of bird populations and monitor any changes, while carrying out the survey helps children to improve their observation skills.
Last year, a record breaking 90,000 pupils and teachers across the UK took part in the Big Schools’ Birdwatch, which revealed the blackbird as the most commonly seen bird in school grounds, with 85% of schools seeing an average of five [see note 3].
Now the RSPB is looking forward to receiving this year’s school wildlife sightings, which also contribute to the results of the RSPB’s annual Big Garden Birdwatch – the biggest wildlife survey in the world, taking place on 30-31 January.
James Harding-Morris, RSPB Big Schools’ Birdwatch Co-ordinator said: “This fun and educational activity is suitable for all ages and abilities and, best of all, it takes just one lesson or lunchtime.
“Research has shown that children are increasingly disconnected from nature [note 4], which is linked to poorer physical and mental health, so this event is a great way to get young people excited about the world around them. It also provides us with valuable information on how some of our familiar birds are doing and encourages the children to help give nature a home.”
There is still time for schools to sign up to take part in the Birdwatch. Teachers, helpers or children don’t need to be experts to take part in the survey. Everything a teacher would need to plan a fantastic Birdwatch, and develop their children’s knowledge and interest in the birds they see everyday, is available to download, including guidance notes, things to make and counting charts. To register to take part, visit

The Big Schools’ Birdwatch and Big Garden Birdwatch are part of the RSPB’s Giving Nature a Home campaign, aimed at tackling the problems facing the UK’s threatened wildlife. For more information on how to give nature a home, visit

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