KEEN twitchers across Warwickshire are being called to take part in the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch 2024.
The annual bird count, which returns later this month, is the world’s largest garden wildlife survey and provides a snapshot of how garden birds are faring in the UK.
In 2023, over half a million people across the UK took part, counting more than nine million birds.
In Warwickshire, almost 5,000 people took part, with the house sparrow taking the top spot as the most commonly seen bird, followed by blue tit and woodpigeon.
This year’s event takes place on Friday (January 26), Saturday (Janaury 27) and Sunday (January 28).
And residents across the county are asked to spend an hour watching and counting the birds in their garden, balcony or local park, then send their results to the RSPB.
This year’s event marks 45 years since the first Big Garden Birdwatch. Starting in 1979, it has since become a much-loved annual citizen science event, that gives the RSPB a valuable snapshot of how garden birds are doing in the UK. Over that time, 185 million birds have been counted and nearly 11.5million hours spent watching and counting garden birds.
RSPB chief executive Beccy Speight, said: “By taking part in the Birdwatch you are joining hundreds of thousands of people from across the UK, united in a love of nature, to play an important role in helping us understand how UK birds are doing. Big Garden Birdwatch demonstrates the power that people have when they come together for nature. Join us for Big Garden Birdwatch 2024 and together let’s take action to help birds and other wildlife thrive for generations to come.”
Across the UK, house sparrows celebrated their 20th year as the number one bird spotted in gardens in 2023.
While nearly 1.5million were spotted across the January weekend, these birds have suffered severe declines. In fact, the number of house sparrows spotted in gardens has dropped by nearly 60 per cent since the Big Garden Birdwatch first began in 1979.
The long-tailed tit rose five positions in the rankings last year, with numbers 39 per cent higher than in 2022.
Meanwhile, greenfinches and chaffinches have been badly affected by a disease known as Trichomonosis. As a result, the UK chaffinch population has declined by 37 per cent over the last decade, while greenfinches have declined by 62 per cent over the same time frame.
Beccy added: “The birds we see in our gardens, from our balconies, and in our parks, are a lively, colourful and endlessly fascinating part of all our lives. By taking part in the Birdwatch, you and hundreds of thousands like you, play an important role in helping us understand how UK birds are doing. With birds and other wildlife now facing so many challenges due to the nature and climate emergency, every count matters.”
For more information visit www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch