Grab a cuppa and join in the world’s biggest wildlife survey

Friday 29 January 2016

Grab a cuppa and join in the world's biggest wildlife survey

RSPB Cymru's Big Garden Birdwatch is set to bring families together to uncover what is happening in Wales' gardens Families are being asked to spend just one hour watching the birds in their garden on the 30 and 31 of January to help RSPB Cymru understand how Wales' best loved garden birds are doing in winter.

Last year over half-a-million people across the UK took part, with 28,000 participants in Wales, making Big Garden Birdwatch the world's biggest garden wildlife survey [note 2]. For the third year running, the RSPB is also asking participants to log some of the other wildlife they see in their gardens throughout the year such as hedgehogs, foxes, stoats and squirrels, to help build an overall picture of how important gardens are for giving nature a home [note 5]. More than 8.5 million birds were spotted visiting gardens across the UK last year. Unfortunately we saw a decline in the number of finches, coal-tits and collared doves in Wales, with the breeding populations of starlings also falling dramatically by more than two thirds. However it was good news for the house sparrow, with breeding population almost doubling in the last few decades in Wales, despite declines across the UK as a whole (+92% 1995 - 2013) [note 4]. Eleri Wynne, RSPB Cymru's Communications Officer, said: "The Big Garden Birdwatch is fun for the whole family and it's so easy to get involved. Simply put the kettle on, grab a biscuit and spend an hour watching the wildlife you see in your garden or local park."

"We love hearing how families come together to discover the exciting natural world in their own back gardens and you don't need to be an expert to take part. We have an online pack with everything you will need and there is even a handy guide to help you tell a black bird from a blue tit! If you take any photos then remember to send them to us as we would love to see what you spot."

If you would like to sign up, please visit www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch, phone 0800 665 450 or text: BIRD to 60155. You can also follow the action throughout the weekend by following @RSPBCymru on Twitter or by using #BigGardenBirdwatch / #GwylioAdar.

Eleri added: "Every year we are amazed by how many people take part. Whether you see a wealth of wildlife or nothing at all it doesn't matter - we would still like to hear from you. All this information helps us build a picture of our beloved birds and lets us see how rich, surprising and precious our wild neighbours truly are. 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 RSPB 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 to support a number of different species or building a home for a hedgehog. The Big Garden Birdwatch is just one of the steps you can take to help nature on your doorstep. To find out more about how to Give Nature a Home in your garden visit www.rspb.org.uk/homes. The parallel event, Big Schools' Birdwatch takes place from 4 January - 12 February 2016 [note 8]. Further information can be found at www.rspb.org.uk/schoolswatch. ENDS

For further information and to arrange an interview, please contact:

Eleri Wynne, RSPB Cymru Communications Officer, eleri.wynne@rspb.org.uk 02920 353007

Follow @RSPBCymru for the latest news #BigGardenBirdwatch #GwylioAdar

Photographs:

To download a selection of images relevant to this press release, please click on the hyperlink below and then enter the user name and password when prompted.

https://www.rspb-images.com/respages/storysetsignon.aspx?key=d8cc3683-a5e7-4462-8d2c-44c290b0b13b User name: garden Password: birdwatch

Editor's notes:

1. 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.

2. Big Garden Birdwatch began in 1979 as a collaboration between the junior branch of the RSPB and BBC family programme Blue Peter.

3. 2015 Wales Big Garden Birdwatch results: rspb.org.uk/birdwatch

Rank

Species

Mean

% gardens

Change in rank since 2014

% Change of mean since 2014

% change since 1979

1

House sparrow

5.74

75.4

0

4.4

12.7

2

Blue tit

3.67

83.1

0

0.9

8.6

3

Starling

3.43

42.4

0

25.6

28.8

4

Blackbird

2.59

91.2

1

22.2

11.5

5

Chaffinch

2.49

55.6

-1

-7.4

-1.0

6

Great tit

1.65

58.3

0

0.8

4.3

7

Robin

1.62

90.4

1

32.2

17.0

8

Jackdaw

1.50

35.6

1

22.7

22.5

9

Magpie

1.41

61.9

1

26.2

18.6

10

Goldfinch

1.21

25.7

-3

-13.5

-3.6

11

Collared dove

1.08

43.6

0

-1.4

4.1

12

Carrion crow

1.05

34.0

4

53.0

41.9

13

Woodpigeon

0.99

43.2

1

19.4

16.1

14

Long tailed tit

0.96

22.3

-2

2.5

16.4

15

Dunnock

0.95

45.4

-2

9.1

3.9

16

Coal tit

0.72

35.4

-1

-6.2

-4.0

17

Feral pigeon

0.55

14.4

1

16.4

20.8

18

Nuthach

0.49

31.2

3

132.5

118.9

19

Greenfinch

0.47

17.6

-2

-23.4

-16.0

20

Great spotted woodpecker

0.42

32.4

2

114.0

105.8

4. Harris,S.J. Massimino,D. Newson,S.E., Eaton, M.A., Balmer, D.E., Noble, D.G., Musgrove, A.J., Gillings, S., Procter, D., Pearce-Higgins, J.W. 2015. The Breeding Bird Survey 2014. BTO Research Report 673. British Trust for Ornithology, Thetford.

5. In 2014, as a new part of the Big Garden Birdwatch, the RSPB asked participants to tell us about some of the other animals in their garden including badgers, squirrels and hedgehogs. Slow worms and grass snakes joined the list in 2015 with foxes and stoats added to this year's list. Participants don't have to see and count these other species during the hour of the Big Garden Birdwatch survey. They just fill in the form to tell the RSPB how frequently they saw them in their gardens over the past year.

6. Together, we can create even more homes for nature. To find out how you can give nature a home where you live visit: rspb.org.uk/homes

7. The RSPB will share the non-bird results people spot in their gardens with Amphibian & Reptile Conservation (ARC), People's Trust for Endangered Species (PTES) and The Mammal Society to add to their species databases. Results will help all the organisations involved build their understanding about the threats facing garden wildlife.

8. The Big School's Birdwatch takes just one hour and teachers can pick any day during the first half of spring term to take part. It works across a wide age and ability range and there's plenty of flexibility to run it as simply as teachers would like either as the centrepiece of cross-curricular studies, project work, or a way to improve their school grounds.

Tagged with: Country: Wales Topic: Big Garden Birdwatch