How to take part in the Big Garden Birdwatch

Take part in the world’s largest wildlife survey on 25-27 January and do something great for nature. Just choose an hour any time over the three days and enjoy time with nature counting birds.

How to take part

It’s so easy to take part. An hour with the birds is a wonderful opportunity to sit back, relax and spend time with nature. So, pop the kettle on, put your feet up and start counting!

  1. Watch the birds for one hour
    Choose an hour between 25 and 27 January to watch the birds in your garden or local park.
  2. Count the most birds that land at once
    Only count the birds that land in your garden or park, not those flying over. The same birds may land more than once, so you can avoid double counting by recording the highest number of each bird species you see at any one time – not the total number you count over the hour.
  3. Tell us what you saw
    Every count is important, so don’t worry if you don’t see anything. Observing which birds aren’t around is as important as seeing the ones that are. You can submit your results online at rspb.org.uk/birdwatch from 25 January until 16 February.

If you’d prefer to send us your results by post, you can download a submission form from rspb.org.uk/birdwatch. Please make sure you post your findings back to us by 11 February. 

What about other wildlife?

The threats to nature mean that it's not just birds facing tough times. It's our hedgehogs, frogs and other wildlife too. So, to help us get a more complete picture of our garden wildlife, we also ask about what other animals you see in your garden as part of the Big Garden Birdwatch. By filling in this section – even if you don’t see anything – you are helping us to build up a fuller picture of how our garden wildlife is faring.

Red squirrel

How does Big Garden Birdwatch help?

For over 40 years, we've been asking you to count the birds in your garden – and you've been brilliant at it.

With over 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.

As the format of the survey has stayed the same, the scientific data can be compared year-on-year, making your results very valuable to our scientists.

With results from so many gardens, we are able to create a "snapshot" of bird numbers across the UK. 

For four decades, the 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 by 2019 numbers of song thrushes seen in gardens had declined by 76%, coming in at number 20.

Your results help us spot problems, but more importantly, they are also the first step in putting things right. This is why it's so important that we count garden birds.

Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis, feeding from a garden feeder, Co. Durham,

How to bring the birds to your patch

Boy feeding birds

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.

Take part in the Birdwatch 2020!

How will you #BigGardenBirdWatch?

Get ready for 25-27 Jan. Sign-up today to request a FREE postal pack or take part online. Once you've signed up, you'll also get FREE access to Big Garden Extra for exclusive articles, advice and celebrity interviews.