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World's biggest garden wildlife survey on its way!

Last modified: 08 January 2015

Goldfinch on branch

Image: Steve Round

The RSPB’s annual Big Garden Birdwatch is back on Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 January 2015, giving people across Wales the chance to be part of the world’s biggest wildlife survey.  Around half a million people across the UK took part in 2014 – with over 22,500 taking part from Wales. RSPB Cymru is urging more people of Wales to take part this year, making it bigger and better!

The wildlife survey, now in its 36th year, provides the RSPB with an important snapshot of garden bird populations in winter and has helped to highlight some dramatic declines in UK garden birds over the last three decades.  For the second year running, the RSPB is also asking participants to log the other wildlife they see in their outside spaces, to help the charity build an overall picture of how important our gardens are for giving nature a home.

Over 418,000 birds were counted in last years’ survey (January 2014) in Wales (7.2 million in total across UK) with the results showing greenfinch and starling continue to decline.  For the second year running, the great spotted woodpecker made it into the top 25 in Wales and goldfinches swooped into the number seven spot.

Here in Wales we’ve seen an increase in number of house sparrows, which came in at number one across the UK. However, this commonly seen bird is actually declining in England. Blue tit came in at number two, found in three quarters of gardens surveyed. Starling came in at number three, and although found in third of all gardens surveyed, numbers have plummeted dramatically.

To take part, people are asked to spend just one hour at any time over the birdwatch weekend noting the highest number of each bird seen in their gardens or local outside space. They then have to submit their results to the RSPB before 13th February, either online at www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch or in the post.

The survey is part of the RSPB’s Giving Nature a Home campaign, aimed at tackling the housing crisis facing the UK’s threatened wildlife. The charity is asking people to provide a place for wildlife in their own gardens and outside spaces – whether it by planting pollen-rich plants to attract bees and butterflies, putting up a nestbox for a house sparrow, or creating a pond that will support a number of different species. To find out how you can give nature a home where you live visit www.rspb.org.uk/homes.

Bethan Lloyd, RSPB Cymru Communications Officer says, “This is a fun, relaxing activity for families or individuals and everyone who takes part will be helping to give nature a home.

“Now in its 36th year, Big Garden Birdwatch continues to help us learn about what is happening with our much-loved birds and other visitors, giving us an overall picture of how we will be able to help wildlife for generations to come.”

People can register to take part in Big Garden Birdwatch 2015 at www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch

How you can help

Find out which birds were the movers and shakers in this year's Big Garden Birdwatch charts.