RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch (25-27 January 2020)

Llinos Jones Parry

Monday 2 December 2019

Robin singing

Over its four decades, Big Garden Birdwatch has highlighted the winners and losers in the garden bird world.

Fersiwn Cymraeg yma

  • Nearly 9 million hours have been spent watching garden birds since the Birdwatch began in 1979 with more than 137 million birds counted.
  • The RSPB is asking participants ‘How will you #BigGardenBirdWatch?’ and share their stories of how they take part.

As Wales prepares to celebrate the Year of Outdoors in 2020, the countdown has commenced for the world’s biggest garden wildlife survey – and more people in Wales than ever before are being called upon to take part in the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch.

Up to half a million people are expected to watch and count their garden birds for this year’s RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch in January.

Just one hour every year, for the last four decades, has made the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch the largest garden wildlife citizen science project. During that time, hundreds of thousands of people have volunteered their time providing the RSPB with nearly 9 million hours of monitoring garden birds.

The RSPB is encouraging participants to share their Big Garden Birdwatch stories this year. How will you #BigGardenBirdWatch? will showcase some of the best examples of how people take part from building their own birdwatching den, baking wildlife themed cakes and making bird feeders.

This year’s event takes place on 25, 26 and 27 January 2020. The public is asked to spend just one hour watching and recording the birds in their garden or local green space, then send their results to the RSPB. Close to half-a-million people join in the Birdwatch every year.

Over the last 40 years, 137 million birds have been counted giving the RSPB an astonishing amount of insight into how our wildlife is faring.

For four decades, Big Garden Birdwatch has highlighted the winners and losers in the garden bird world. It was one of the first surveys to alert the RSPB to the decline in the number of song thrushes in gardens. This species was a firm fixture in the top 10 in 1979 but 30 years later its numbers are less than half those recorded in 1979. By 2019, numbers of song thrushes seen in gardens have declined by 76%, coming in at number 20.

Rebecca Munro, RSPB Director of Communications, said: “With nearly half a million people now regularly taking part, coupled with 40 years’ worth of data, Big Garden Birdwatch allows us to monitor trends and helps us understand how birds are doing. With results from so many gardens, we are able to create a 'snapshot' of bird numbers across the UK”.

The house sparrow remained at the top of the Big Garden Birdwatch rankings as the most commonly seen garden bird with more than 1.2 million recorded sightings in 2019.

Llinos Jones Parry, RSPB Cymru Visitor Experience & Marketing Manager, “More than 26,000 people took part in Wales this year and it’s the ideal opportunity to get the whole family involved - simply put the kettle on, get comfy and count the birds you spot in your garden or green space. But whether you see a wealth of wildlife or nothing at all it doesn’t matter, as we still want to hear from you.

We love hearing how people come together to discover the exciting wildlife in their back gardens and you don’t need to be an expert to take part. We have an online pack with everything you need and there is even a handy guide to help you tell your chaffinch from your goldfinch! With just a bit of effort, our homes can be great homes for the nation's birds too.”

To take part in the Big Garden Birdwatch 2020, watch the birds in your garden or local park for one hour at some point over the three days. Only count the birds that land, not those flying over. Tell us the highest number of each bird species you see at any one time – not the total you see in the hour.

The parallel event, RSPB Big Schools’ Birdwatch takes place during the first half of spring term (6 January – 21 February 2020). 60,000 schoolchildren spent an hour in nature counting birds in 2019. Further information can be found at


  Editor’s notes:

  1. Big Garden Birdwatch and Big Schools’ Birdwatch 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’s putting up a nest box for birds, creating a pond for frogs and toads or building a home for a hedgehog.
  2. The RSPB is the UK’s largest nature conservation charity, inspiring everyone to give nature a home. Together with our partners, we protect threatened birds and wildlife so our towns, coast and countryside will teem with life once again. We play a leading role in BirdLife International, a worldwide partnership of nature conservation organisations.

Last Updated: Wednesday 1 April 2020

Tagged with: Country: Wales Country: Wales Country: Wales Topic: Big Garden Birdwatch Topic: Wales