You might have seen our video all about 10-year-old bird lover Yiyi, who took part in our Big Garden Birdwatch. We were so impressed with her love for birds and nature that we had to get in touch with her to find out more. 

What is your favourite wild place and why?

Montrose probably. It was where I saw my first pheasant and I even managed to see a little egret! (Unfortunately my camera had died at that point 

How did you get into birdwatching and what are your top tips for new birders?

I joined RSPB and went on birdwatching trips when I was 7. I had been interested in nature since I was little; farm animals, spiders, butterflies, whales, dolphins were my favourites. My interest in birds might start from some Nature activities on one holiday, where I made two bird feeders (the ones with apples) and saw some eggs in a bird nest (looking at the picture now it seemed like a blue tit laid them). A few months later, I became so interested in birds, that I read about birds a lot and kept talking about them. My mum took me out for a birdwatching trip organized by the local RSPB group. After the trip, I became a member of RSPB and a birder! 

My tips are: 

  • Not to travel halfway across the country just to see birds. There are closer places that may have more birds than whatever-location-you-are-travelling-to (unless you are going to see a very rare bird that only lives there) like your garden.  
  • A whole load of people set out feeders. But like humans, birds get thirsty too. Set out a (shallow) basin and it can double up as a bird bath. Some water for cooling down in and a valuable resource in the winter. That’s how we attracted lots of birds coming to our garden (birdfeeders only came up last Christmas). 
  • Listen to the birdsong! You don’t have to know what bird is singing, just enjoy it! Listening to the chaffinches always calms me down. If you want to find out what bird is singing, the RSPB website is a lot of help. 
  • Of course, my top tip is to visit the RSPB website and join the a Local Group if you can. You will find loads of useful information from the website, Nature’s Home magazines, and fantastic talks, etc. Going out on trips (not that far away) and chatting with the members make for a good day. You might even see a kingfisher or kestrel!

Yiyi at an RSPB outing

Yiyi at an RSPB outing

What (or who) inspires you?

I have got inspiration from various people, talks, books, BBC programmes and activities. What inspires me most are the lovely birds! Last year, Flame and Amber (the mating robins) raised a brood in my garden. My dad and I put a camera beside the nest to watch them. The chicks were so cute and four of them survived (one of them was dragged off by rats and we don’t know what happened to the other one 

Yiyi’s nest diaries

How does birdwatching make you feel?

It makes me feel calm, especially when I am upset. It is great joy to watch birds indeed. I also found it quite funny to see the pigeons try to go at the feeders, which are for small birds (they found out how to do it by sitting on a nearby branch, and the carrion crows followed their example). 

What did you see in this year’s Big Garden Birdwatch? Did anything surprise you? What was your favourite bird you saw?

Definitely the robins, and I was very happy that our resident robin, Flame, has found a mate for the year (which I only found out during the Birdwatch). Other birds I saw include way too many carrion crows (they were sitting on the trees in big heaps trying to work out how to knock the feeder off the tree), a coal tit who Flame kept chasing away (this is a new find for our garden), the dunnocks that come to feed in pairs (Flame was territorial about them too) and some blue tits, sitting on the big tree. 

Yiyi birding at the park

What are your worries and hopes for the future?

I have many worries, and one of them is that the amazing birds in our world will go extinct. I hope that we can all stand together and save them. 

Who do you think has the most power to save nature, and what would you like to say to them?

I think that everyone has the power to save nature, no matter how small their actions. By working together, we can save nature. 

Yiyi at a litter pick

What do you think stops people from engaging with nature? Are there specific issues for young people connecting with nature?

I think some people are too busy to spend time on observing the nature closely. Some people don’t know where to find it and don’t realize that nature is just at their doorsteps sometimes. I am sure that they will love nature when they get the chance to engage with it. It is just amazing and hard to resist.                                                                      

Thank you to Yiyi for taking the time to talk to us and share her passion for birds. We hope her words will inspire you to get out there and connect with nature in your local area.

CLICK HERE to find out more about RSPB Local Groups.

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