RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 28-30 January 2017
The countdown has commenced for the world's biggest garden wildlife survey - and more people in Lancashire than ever before are being called upon to take part in the RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch, running 28, 29 and 30 January 2017.
The public are asked to spend just one hour watching and recording the birds and other wildlife in their garden or local public space, then send their results to the RSPB. As the world's largest garden wildlife survey, now in its 38th year, more than half a million people are expected to take part in 2017.
In response to many requests over the years, and for the first time in its history, people will also be able to take part on the Monday, extending the birdwatch to three days. It is hoped this will allow even more people to spend an hour counting the birds in their park or garden, adding to the snapshot of how they are doing.
To help prepare for the Big Garden Birdwatch, there are plenty of events taking place in Lancashire this January - from discovering how to attract more wildlife into your garden to gaining tips on how to identify the creatures that live on your doorstep.
Head to RSPB Leighton Moss in Silverdale, with your family team to take part in the Big Garden Birdwatch trail. Discover more about identifying our feathered friends and how you can help them. This self-led quiz is running every day until the end of January and is free to take part (normal admission charges to the reserve apply to non-members). Drop-in between 9.30 am-3.30 pm.
In Lytham St-Annes, visit the RSPB Ribble Discovery Centre at Fairhaven Lake to get involved in the Big Bird Cake Off! Taking place from 11 am-3 pm on Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 January, this event offers families the chance to create a bake-off worthy showstopper that will attract an array of birds to the garden in time for Big Garden Birdwatch weekend. Costs £1 per bird cake.
Over in Lancaster, meet RSPB staff at Williamson Park on Sunday 29 January between 10 am-4 pm, to get information, hints and tips on participating in the Big Garden Birdwatch.
Daniel Hayhow, RSPB Conservation Scientist said: "With over half a million people now regularly taking part, coupled with over 30 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 the birds visiting at this time of year across the UK. Even if you see nothing during your Big Garden Birdwatch hour, that's important information too, so please let us know."
As well as counting feathered friends, the RSPB is once again asking participants to log some of the other wildlife they see in their gardens and green spaces such as grass snakes, hedgehogs, stag beetles, stoats and moles.
Daniel added: "The threats to our wildlife means that it's facing tough times. For example it is estimated that we've lost more than half of our hedgehogs in the last 50 years. We're going to include this part of the survey every year now, enabling us to monitor the distribution of other wildlife as well as trends in bird numbers."
To take part, download your free Big Garden Birdwatch pack at rspb.org.uk/birdwatch
Results will be published in March 2017.
The parallel event, Big Schools' Birdwatch takes place during the first half of spring term, 3 January-17 February 2017. Further information can be found at rspb.org.uk/schoolswatch