Right now, we could all do with a bit of cheering up. They say laughter is the best medicine, and when teamed with hard-core data collection, what more could you need? The last weekend in January (29-31!) is Big Garden Birdwatch, here are some silly ways you can get involved, whilst contributing to the world's largest garden wildlife survey!

Don't forget to sign up to take part at rspb.org.uk/birdwatch

The rules of the Watch

Normally, Big Garden Birdwatch is super easy to get involved with. All you have to do is watch your garden, balcony, or window box for an hour, counting all the different species you see, and the maximum number of each species you see at one time. That’s it! Of course, you can still do it this way if you want, but here are some suggestions for ways to liven up your counting.

Nuthatch going down a tree trunk

Do it upside down!

Make like a nuthatch and Big Garden Birdwatch upside down! This will involve a well-positioned sofa, some sort of upside-down writing system and an ability to look at the world from a different perspective! Oh, and be sure to take several upside-up breaks so your head doesn’t explode.

Only speak backwards!

S’tel tset woh doog uoy era ta gniman sdrib sdrawkcab! Fi uoy dettops eseht seiceps ni ruoy nedrag, dluow uoy wonk tahw ot yas? Dribkcalb, nibor, esuoh worraps, hcniffahc.

Chaffinch on a food table

Dressed as your favourite bird!

The world is your oystercatcher with this one. Maybe a green jacket and a blue hat is enough to get you in a blue tit kinda mood, or maybe you need to go all out with a great crested grebe headdress. Whatever your style, we would LOVE to see, so be sure to share your photos with us!

For each new species, add an extra item of clothing!

First spot, blackbird = add one hat

Next, a robin appears = pair of gloves going on!

Aha! A flock of sparrows = wrap that scarf up

Was that a flash of wren = on go the extra pair of socks

Here come the wood pigeons! = Can you get a second hat to balance on the first one?

In comes a dunnock = getting a bit difficult to squeeze this coat on now!

Ooh a redwing has dropped in for a snack = I could get these socks on if I could just reach my feet!

And so on…

Themed picnic

One of the best parts of joining in with Big Garden Birdwatch is that you can do it with a drink and snack, in fact that’s normally the first thing I tell people to get them involved with their first Watch. “all you have to do is watch the birds for an hour, and drink tea! I’ll bring the biscuits!”. How about taking this a step further and organising a Big Garden Birdwatch themed picnic to enjoy from the warmth of your house? Here are a few suggestions of suitable snacks: Robin red grapes, flap jackdaw, wren-til soup, pea-nuthatch butter sandwich.  

 Tea and cake with Big Garden Birdwatch forms on a table

Any of these sounding like fun to you? Please do let us know how you’re going to be taking part, and what you see! To sign up and find all the resources you need to Big Garden Birdwatch just click here: https://bit.ly/BGBWST!

If you are planning to take part in the Big Garden Birdwatch 2021 in a park or public space, please stay local and follow all current government Covid-19 guidance.