We're so excited!

We're now only a few weeks away from Big Garden Birdwatch, and up and down the country, hundreds of thousands of participants are getting ready for the big event.

Family taking part in Big Garden Birdwatch. Image by Ben Hall (rspb-images.com)

Taking part

If you’ve not done Big Garden Birdwatch before and don’t know what’s involved, relax, it’s a piece of cake. Here’s how it goes:

  1. Pick a time of day that’s ideal for you. You’re more likely to see more birds in the morning, but any time of day is fine.
  2. Make yourself comfy and watch the birds in your garden for one hour.
  3. Record the highest number of each bird species you see at any one time.
  4. Even if you see no birds, tell us – it’s still useful information.
  5. Submit your results online, or fill in a paper form.

That’s it! You're done!

When our scientists compare the data from hundreds of thousands of people all across the UK, and compare it to results from the previous Big Garden Birdwatches (going all the way back to 1979), it provides a vital health check of our garden birds.

Over the years, it has revealed worrying trends, including around a 70% drop in song thrushes in gardens, and a 58% drop in house sparrows. But on the positive side, over the last 20 years, numbers of house sparrows have doubled in Wales. We’ll tell you more about how Big Garden Birdwatch helps our conservation scientists in a future blog post.

Song thrush. Image by Chris Gomersall (rspb-images.com)

It’s not just about birds

While birds are the focus of the Birdwatch, we’re also asking you to tell us which other wildlife uses your garden. Why? Because we want to know how much certain species depend on gardens, including stag beetles, slow worms, and foxes.

We’re interested to know how trends for these species might change over time. For example, are gardens becoming more or less useful to moles as our countryside changes?

Your results will tell us a lot, so make sure to complete this part of your form too.

Have fun preparing! And if you have any more questions about how it works, check out our page on everything you need to know about Big Garden Birdwatch.