This year, the Big Garden Birdwatch will take place from 28-30 January 2017!
In 2016, the Big Garden Birdwatch count was pretty awesome! Some stats: 519,000 people counted 8,262,662 birds!
If you’ve been in a state school in the last 20 years, or ever watched Springwatch, the chances are that you have heard of the Big Garden Birdwatch! You might have even heard about the Big Schools Birdwatch.
What is the Big Garden Birdwatch?
Simply set an hour aside between 28th and 30th January 2017 and count the wildlife that you see; easy! This is hailed as the ‘world’s biggest wildlife survey’ and here is your chance to get involved.
>Take an hour out of your day. Sit back, relax, and get counting!<
How do I record my count for the Big Garden Birdwatch? The garden birdwatch count
Submit your garden birdwatch count to the RSPB, they make this very easy to do: download the pack!
Getting involved on social media is a great way to feel part of the big garden birdwatch team. Let other people know about your garden birdwatch count. The hashtag being used is #BigGardenBirdwatch Some great people to follow on Twitter are @BBC_Birdwatch @BTO_GBW @ChrisGPackham @MichaelaStracha (yes, no ‘n’!)
Spotting the Waxwing and the Great Spotted Woodpecker in the UK
Two of my favourite birds to see in the UK are the Waxwing and the Great Spotted Woodpecker (I hear them a lot, but rarely manage to spot them!) Here are some top tips from the RSPB about where to see these amazing birds and how to attract them to your garden.
Where to see a Waxwing in the UK?
The waxwing is a plump bird and slightly smaller than a starling. It has a prominent crest. It is reddish-brown with a black throat, a small black mask round its eye, yellow and white in the wings and a yellow-tipped tail. The Waxwing is a winter visitor to the UK, so this Big Garden Birdwatch could be just the time to catch a glimpse! The first Waxwings to arrive in the UK, are usually seen on the east coast from Scotland to East Anglia. Waxwings, as with most birds, will travel to where ever the food is.
How to attract a Waxwing to your garden?
- Waxwings are fruit eaters! Fill your garden with trees and hedges that are full of fruit at this time of year.
- Hawthorn, roses (for their hips), and cotoneasters are known favourites of the Waxwing
- Windfall apples on sticks – I read this on the RSPB website as a way for attracting Waxwings; if they don’t appreciate your work then a whole host of other birds will do!
Where to see a Great Spotted Woodpecker in the UK
The size blackbird-sized and with striking black-and-white feathers, the Great Spotted Woodpecker has a very distinctive bouncing flight. It spends most of its time clinging to tree trunks and branches. The Great Spotted Woodpecker is famous for its distinctive spring ‘drumming’ on tree trunks. The male has a distinctive red patch on the back of the head and young birds have a red crown. The best areas to see the Great Spotted Woodpecker in the UK are in wooded areas with plenty of mature broad-leaved trees. They are also known to feed on peanuts in feeders and on bird tables. They are common in England and Wales; go and look for one today!
How to attract a Great Spotted Woodpecker to your garden?
This feels like a ‘million dollar question’ and few of us live in homes surrounded by mature woods! When it boils down to it, though, Great Spotted Woodpeckers are just like any other bird and simply need a reliable food source, water, and sufficient shelter for safety and nesting. It goes without saying that trees with gardens are going to be the gardens of choice though!
How to make your own bird feeder
Are you taking part in the #BigGardenBirdwatch or will you be taking part in the Big Schools Birdwatch later in the year? Use the comments section below to let us know the variety of birds that you see and if you see something special!