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Join the RSPB Big Garden Bird this January

The RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch began in 1979 when the RSPB joined forces with BBC’s Blue Peter. Then it was aimed at children who dutifully, no doubt with support from their parents, posted details to the RSPB team of the birds they had seen in their garden.

We are a nation of bird lovers in the UK, with an ever-increasing number of us ensuring the birdfeeders and birdbaths are kept clean and topped up throughout the year. For many, more time spent birdwatching has been one of the fewer benefits of lockdown.

Over 40 years later, the Birdwatch is the world’s largest wildlife survey with around half a million people taking part. The statistics show that:

  • Nearly 9 million hours have been spent watching garden birds since the Big Garden Birdwatch began in 1979
  • The total number of birds counted as part of the Big Garden Birdwatch since 1979, is around 137 million

It must be stressed that this survey is far more than an enjoyable way to spend an hour or so. It enables the RSPB to gather information to see how our garden wildlife is doing. With an increasing number of species under threat, this year on year information is vital to understand how birds are being affected by, amongst other things, loss of habitat largely caused by current agricultural practices but also domestic lawns and hedges being replaced by artificial turf, decking and gravel;  widespread use of pesticides; oil pollution at sea; and climate change.

If you haven’t done so already, why not register for the RSPB Garden Birdwatch, 29-31 January 2021 and make it the biggest year ever.


It’s really easy to take part. Even if you don’t have a garden of your own, you could just watch from your balcony or window.

And why not make the event even more special and take some pictures of the beautiful birds you see and post them on social media using the hashtag #BigGardenBirdwatch. If taking birdie photos or even videos appeals to you, there are some great hints and tips here.

And why not get in the mood with the RSPB fun online quiz which asks: which garden bird are you?!

There is, of course, loads of information about birds on the RSPB website, but don’t forget we also have lots of articles of birds on the Healthy Life Essex website. And we would love to hear from you if you have taken part.

And let’s not forget, although the primary purpose of this event is to collate information that will help protect our garden birds, getting in touch with nature is incredibly good for our wellbeing, especially during these challenging times. As Professor Jules Pretty stresses, even a five-minute dose of nature brings immediate wellbeing.

Image by Manfred Richter from Pixabay

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