Big Garden Birdwatch

by on Jan.24, 2009, under Birdwatching, Choppington Woods, Northumberland, Surveys

This weekend is the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch. The easiest, most comfortable bird survey you are ever likely to be involved in. Our routine is always to fill all of our feeders the evening before then, after an extra hour in bed, make bacon or egg sandwiches for breakfast and settle down at the patio window for an hour watching the feeding station and all of the trees and bushes around the garden. As we started the count a flock of 12 Long-tailed Tits descended on the peanut cage. Not a bird we get on this survey every year, so a good start. Blue, Great and Coal Tits arrived and our next task was to try and count the maximum number of each species present at one time; not the easiest thing to do when they grab a seed from the feeder and hide amongst the branches to eat it. Greenfinch and Goldfinch have been very scarce in the garden this winter (worryingly, a number of our clients are reporting a similar situation from around the country) but both did eventually appear. Willow Tit is a bird that will not appear on many garden lists so we were pleased when one joined the masses. Sadly we didn’t find a Song Thrush, and it now seems to be completely absent from our garden. Having suffered a national decline of 63% over the last 30 years, the Big Garden Birdwatch is an important tool in monitoring the fortunes of this species, famous for the ‘thrush’s anvil’ on which it breaks open snail shells. With just two minutes of the survey remaining, bird number 63 (and species number 16) put an end to any further additions to the list; a female Sparrowhawk scythed through the feeding station and everything scattered. It really is easy to participate in this survey. Click the link above and, if you don’t manage to count your garden birds tomorrow, there’s always next year.

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