One of my favourite things to do with my kids is to watch the birds outside in the garden. It has the added benefit of being something that can be done on a really cold winters day too, without having to go outside! I’ve talked a bit before about getting kids started with birdwatching so do take a look at that if you’re at all interested in expanding your kids knowledge of nature.
January is a great time for watching birds as they are hungry and quite eager to come to bird tables to be fed. It’s also the time of year that the RSPB does their Big Garden Birdwatch.
What is the Big Garden Birdwatch and can kids do it?
The RSPBs Big Garden Birdwatch is essentially a wildlife survey. The RSPB looks to find out which birds are coming to our back gardens. They take the data and it helps them build a picture of the numbers of species of garden birds around. This can be helpful for them to see if numbers are falling or rising and if something should then be done about it.
Although it’s a wildlife survey where the results are taken seriously it’s a great thing for all to get involved in, even kids. It only takes an hour of your day and if you can watch your garden from somewhere in your house you don’t even need to get wrapped up warm to enjoy the nature!
How to do the Big Garden Birdwatch
First of all you can sign up with the RSPB and get a pack. This can be sent in the post or it can be downloaded as a PDF.
Then on the weekend of the birdwatch you simply find a good spot to watch some birds and take up residence for an hour. This can be watching in the garden or if you don’t have a garden you can go out to the park for an hour.
Whenever you see a bird you count it. You only count the maximum number of species at one time so if you see a group of 3 blue tits and later on in the hour you only see one then you keep it at 3. This way you’ll not count the same bird twice.
When the hour is up you either submit the results online or send in a paper form with your survey.
When is the Big Garden Birdwatch in 2017?
This years Big Garden Birdwatch takes part on the 28th – 30th January 2017.
Another thing to keep an eye out for is special events around RSPB Nature reserves. Often they’ll put on some themed events with crafts or just have members of staff available to help you do the birdwatch there. A lot of reserves have feeding stations that you can watch at so if you fancy a day out this can be a good idea for an hour or so.