Success measured in mail bags
Did you know that the Big Garden Birdwatch started out as an event for children? Back in 1979, the RSPB joined forces with BBC’s Blue Peter and called on children to let us know what birds they saw in their garden. Hundreds took up the call, and in those pre-digital days, dutifully posted in their findings. The early signs of success were there, with the RSPB team faced with an impressive 34 mail bags full of post to sort.
Our very own Ian Barthorpe, now a Visitor Experience Office at RSPB Minsmere, is one of those children who took part in the very first Birdwatch. He remembers it fondly:
“I was seven years old and watching Blue Peter. Peter Holden from the RSPB was on, and inspired me to take part. I was already a member of the Young Ornithologist’s Club (the RSPB’s then youth club) and this was an exciting opportunity to do something that I’d seen on the telly.”
The 'one-off' activity proved so successful that it grew into the regular event it is today. Although it wasn't until 2001 that we invited adults to join in the fun, too!