With the Big Garden Birdwatch fast approaching, Media & Communications Officer Louise Smith explains why this year’s survey will be particularly special for her...

A garden to call my own

I’m really looking forward to this year’s Big Garden Birdwatch. Don’t get be wrong, I’ve enjoyed it in previous years, not just because it keeps me very busy in the office but also because it’s a nice way to spend an hour.

No this year is different, because this year, for the first time ever, I actually have my very own garden. Ok, it’s not much but it’s mine...

A potential wildlife friendly garden in the making.

I might be the new kid on the block but that hasn’t stopped some local feathered residents stopping by for a nibble on the feeders.

I’ve so far noticed goldfinch, great tits, house sparrows, chaffinch, a lonesome robin and two rather fat looking woodpigeon, so I’ve high hopes that I might record a few sightings during my Big Garden Birdwatch hour. What are you hoping to see?

Providing food and water is a great, simple way to attract wildlife to your garden. High calorie foods are good for providing energy, which is vital for those cold winter nights. I started feeding the birds a few months ago. I’ve got sunflower seeds and peanuts in the hanging feeders and a fat filled coconut shell too – that seems to be particularly popular!

From time to time, just to save it going to waste I’ve also left out cooked unsalted rice or potato, bruised fruit and even mild grated cheese. Ok, the latter I left our purposely because I read that robins love cheese and robins, as well as mallards, are one of my favourite birds. I know, I’m easily pleased.

This is the first time I’ve ever had my own garden, in previous years I’ve taken part in Big Garden Birdwatch from my local park and from my flat window, so I’m looking forward to learning more about the wildlife that uses my new home. And that’s the great thing about the Big Garden Birdwatch, not only are you helping the experts build a picture of garden bird populations, you are also learning more about the wildlife on your own doorstep.

So if you have a spare hour (just think a whole 60 mins of relaxing in the peace and quiet!), why not grab a pen and paper and take part. You’ll find all the details at www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch" target="_blank">www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch

Hopefully this year will be the biggest Big Garden Birdwatch ever!