Starling sits on a washing line surrounded by red brick

How to take part in Big Garden Birdwatch

To play your part in the world’s largest bird survey this January, just follow the simple instructions below.

Instructions

  1. Pick a time
    You can choose any hour between 29 and 31 January. So whether you’re an early bird or a night owl, you can still take part.

  2. Tell us what you see 
    Count the birds you see in your garden or from your balcony*. Ignore any birds that are still in flight. To avoid double-counting, just record the highest number of each bird species you see at any one time – not a running total.

    *This year our advice is to take part in the safety of your own home. This could include a birdwatch from your window if you overlook a green space or courtyard.
  3. Submit your results
    OnlineYou can submit your results online at rspb.org.uk/birdwatch from 29 January until 19 February.
    By post: If you’d rather send your results by post, you can download a submission form below. Please post your results to us before 15 February.

Every count is important so, if you don’t see anything, please still submit your result. Finding out which birds don’t visit your area is as important as understanding those which do!

See our resources below for printable bird ID sheets to help you, or posters you can display to show you're taking part.

Bearded man in dressing grown and furry hat standing outside house ready to take part in big garden birdwatch at dawn, Bedfordshire
Early risers welcome
two men spotting birds in the rain. one in a blue jacket holding an umbrella, one in a red jacket holding a spotter's guide
Have fun spotting
woman seen from above and behind adding birdwatching results on a tablet
Send us the results

How does Big Garden Birdwatch help?


Thanks to people like you taking part in the Big Garden Birdwatch, we now have over 40 years of data and this has helped increase our understanding of the challenges faced by wildlife.

It was one of the first surveys to identify the decline of song thrushes in gardens. This species was a firm fixture in the top 10 in 1979. But by 2019, those numbers had declined by 76% – coming in at number 20. And did you know that house sparrow sightings have dropped by 53% since the first Birdwatch in 1979? However, in the past 10 years their numbers have grown by 10% showing that we are beginning to see some signs of recovery.

Results like these help us spot problems. But, more importantly, they are the first step towards putting things right.

 

Mother pointing to a bird, Big Garden Birdwatch event, Cambridgeshire

Bring the birds to your patch

Birds on a feeder | The RSPB

Our top tips on making your garden an attractive place for birds to stop for a snack. Whether your space is big or small, we've got ways you can give garden birds a helping hand.

Tell us what you saw

By counting the birds in your patch, you’re helping to take a snapshot of how they are doing. And the more people that submit their results, the better picture we will have of how garden birds are faring across the UK.

You're vital in helping us understand the challenges faced by wildlife. Whatever you saw – even if it was nothing – it still counts.