The Big Garden Birdwatch is over, but there’s still plenty more you can do to help your local wildlife this winter! Follow our step-by-step guide on what to do now that the Birdwatch has finished.
1. Submit your results
Don’t forget to submit your results to the RSPB. You have until 17 February to do this online. Even if you saw nothing, your results will help the RSPB build a picture of the current state of the UK’s garden wildlife.
You can submit your results online until 17 February
WHAT WE SAW…
Anna Scrivenger, Editor, Nature’s Home magazine
“We did our Birdwatch in the early afternoon and during a very strong wind. Perhaps that’s why most of our numbers were down on previous years. Dunnocks, robins and starlings were all up, though. We got 14 bird species, including blackbirds, goldfinches, dunnocks, jackdaws, magpies, woodpigeons, a collared dove, a long-tailed tit, blue tits, a great tit, a coal tit, starlings, chaffinches, robins and one healthy male brown rat!
“In previous years we’ve spotted song-thrush, wren, rooks, a great spotted woodpecker and grey squirrels, but they were all no-shows this year. Thankfully one long-tailed tit showed up right at the start… the first we’d seen all winter, though we used to get 4 or 5 in previous Birdwatches. Results duly submitted, so that’s a wrap! I look forward to seeing the national results… and then to the return of our summer swift colony!”
Emma Pocklington, Deputy Editor, Nature’s Home magazine
“I dutifully sat at the patio doors in my dining room, looking out over the garden for a full hour. My garden is a small, L-shaped area of decking, surrounded by a high wall. Despite numerous pot plants, including some large shrubs, the local birds haven’t taken to my garden. I saw nothing at all in the hour that I sat, but it was not time wasted. It’s vital to tell the RSPB, even if your result was zero, as this can help them build up a more complete picture of garden wildlife in the UK.”
Ellen Wade, Group Account Director, RSPB magazines
"My garden backs on to a river, so I saw a lot of water birds, which was great. I didn't get the smaller garden birds I was expecting, I think because of the wind – but it was still a good result for my first-ever Birdwatch! I saw a mute swan, a carrion crow, two common gulls, a moorhen and a mallard."
The Big Garden Birdwatch revealed that starlings are facing alarming declines, even though they're still fairly commonly seen. Photo: Ben Andrew (rspb-images.com)
2. Wait for the results
It might seem like everything goes a bit quiet after the hype of the Big Garden Birdwatch, but at RSPB HQ a whole team of scientists are springing into action. The team process every result they receive and begin to collate the data. Once the data is collated and cleaned, it can be sorted in a number of different ways to reveal the results. Learn more about the step by step process.
The Big Garden Birdwatch can reveal issues with bird populations that we need to address, but it can also show success stories. Look out for the results in the coming months.
Get together with your neighbours and turn a disused patch of land into a wildflower garden. The Castleton community featured in the Summer 2018 issue of Nature's Home magazine. Photo: Andy Hay (rspb-images.com)
3. Stand up for wildlife
If you enjoyed the Big Garden Birdwatch, there’s plenty more you can do for your local wildlife. Why not get the family together for a litter pick or beach clean, or give nature a home in your community by making street planters or planting wildflowers on road verges?
If you fancy seeing more of what the RSPB does you could volunteer at a local reserve, or take a residential volunteering role further afield. Or, if you simply want to stand up for nature, you can help by lobbying your local MP and campaign for better policies for nature.
Fill up your bird feeders with seed mixes, mealworms and quality scraps and keep feeding into spring. Photo: Rosemary Despres (rspb-images.com)
4. Keep feeding the birds
Your garden birds need you more than ever at this time of year, so it’s important to keep feeding them even after the Big Garden Birdwatch is over. Birds need high-energy food when the weather is cold, such as high-fat food and kitchen scraps. As spring arrives, avoid using peanuts, fat or bread as these can be harmful if fed to nestlings. Instead, switch to seeds, mealworms and mixes.
Want more Big Garden Birdwatch? Missed out this year? Don't worry, you can still enjoy all the great content at Birdwatch Extra. Knit birds, bake cakes and learn everything there is to know about the Big Garden Birdwatch.
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