Jet Woodwards, RSPB Parliamentary Assistant, writes today’s blog about our MP birdwatch walk and the Big Garden Birdwatch weekend.

To set this crucial year for nature off to a soaring start, the RSPB invited MPs to connect with nature on a birdwatch walk with us ahead of our flagship Big Garden Birdwatch weekend.

A walk in the park

With 2022 being a critical year for nature we had plenty to talk about! The latest Birds of Conservation Concern report makes clear that our birdlife is declining, and 29% of UK birds are now of ‘highest conservation concern’. To halt and reverse species declines by 2030, the Government will need to act fast to flesh out the framework established by the Environment Act and negotiate for an ambitious post-2020 global biodiversity framework at the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) COP15.

In the space of an hour, we had seen over 50 birds, including blue tits, dunnocks, redwings, wrens, feral pigeons, moorhens, robins, crows, magpies, and even rose-ringed parakeets. This was undoubtedly a great turnout; however, it is important to note that there are key common British species that we did not see any of at all, such as the house sparrow, starling, greenfinch, or chaffinch. We will need to wait until the Big Garden Birdwatch results are out in the spring to see if these changes speak to wider national trends.  

The brilliance of the birdwatch is that you never know what you might spot. We would like to thank Kerry McCarthy, Luke Pollard, and Alex Sobel for joining us on this year’s MP birdwatch walk. Our Big Garden Birdwatch MP walk is hosted annually, and we cannot wait to see what next year’s event will have in store. 

Big Garden Birdwatch 2022

Every year, people across the UK put aside an hour of their time to observe nature and count birds to help us piece together a picture of how our birdlife is faring. Now in its 43rd year, with well over 150 million birds counted by the public since it began, the Big Garden Birdwatch is the world’s largest wildlife survey.

In 2021, despite national lockdowns being in place, we saw over a million people participate to count over 17 million birds. Whilst the data is still pouring in for this year's event, early reports show that almost half a million people have submitted their results already and over 9 million birds have been counted. This will provide an incredible amount of insight into how the UK’s birdlife is changing.

Over the course of the weekend, we saw MPs from all parties getting involved and sharing their support. Each and every person taking part helps send a clear message to the Government that nature-positive policies are in the national interest and need proper prioritisation and delivery.

The finalised results for the 2022 Big Garden Birdwatch will be released in the spring, so be sure to watch this space!

If you took part in the Big Garden Birdwatch, please leave a comment.