Birdwatch News Archive
Redwing is one of the species expected to be present in higher numbers than usual in people's gardens this winter. David Norton (www.rspb-images.com).
Big Garden Birdwatch this weekend
Posted on: 25 Jan 2013
The RSPB is expecting a high count of winter migrants in the Big Garden Birdwatch this weekend, as the cold weather drives hungry birds to householders' feeders.
The recent cold weather could be behind a rise in the number of winter migrants appearing in Scottish gardens. The RSPB is urging people to look out for sightings of species such as Redwing, Fieldfare, Brambling and Waxwing, when they take part in the Big Garden Birdwatch this weekend (26-27 January).
As snow and ice covers much of the country, birds that normally feed on invertebrates or berries, can been driven into gardens in their search for food. The conservation charity believes this could results in an increase in sightings of these species, which start looking for food and water provided by humans.
Last year, more than 600,000 people took part in the Big Garden Birdwatch, each spending one hour recording the birds that visit their gardens or local parks. The results are used to help build a picture of garden bird populations across Britain.
Keith Morton of RSPB Scotland said: “Sudden changes in the weather can be difficult for birds, particularly as until now it has been fairly mild. Species such as Fieldfare, Brambling and Redwing arrive in Scotland from Scandinavia in winter and are often spotted feeding on berries, so to hear that they appear to be struggling to find food naturally is concerning. Fortunately, these usually shy birds will use gardens in bad weather and make use of the extra help provided by humans to get enough energy to endure the freezing winter nights.
“It will be interesting to see if those taking part in the Big Garden Birdwatch notice an increase in these colourful birds. The survey is a fun and easy way to learn more about local wildlife, whilst at the same time contributing to an important piece of ‘citizen science’.“
The RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch is open to everyone. Participants can join in by spending just one hour at any time over this weekend, noting the highest number of each bird species seen in their gardens or local park at any one time then submitting the results to the RSPB. Schoolchildren and teachers will be doing the same in their school grounds as part of Big Schools’ Birdwatch between now and Friday 1 February.
Since its creation in 1979, the annual survey has helped monitor garden bird numbers across the country, highlighting any worrying trends or concerning changes in population.
For more information and advice for looking after wildlife in the winter visit www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch.
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