What a sumptuous day for the Big Garden Birdwatch! Perfectly crisp and dazzlingly cold, I wasn’t too distressed that I was required to sit inside with a cup of Lady Grey to watch the birds this afternoon. If you aren’t aware, the Big Garden Birdwatch is an annual event organised by the RSPB, encouraging everyone to watch the birds in their garden for one hour, and send in the results.
It’s a great way for ornithologists to gain a ‘snapshot’ of British birdlife and population distribution, but the true brilliance lies in the way it gets children and adults to gaze patiently outside and really appreciate the miraculous wildlife tottering around in their patch.
This year was particularly exciting for me as we’ve just moved house! Our old house was a little dry for birdlife, with a few sparrows and pigeons making up the bulk of our backyard bonanza. What a difference we’ve found on the other side of town!
Today, our garden menagerie included: 2 collared doves, 1 woodpigeon, 15 house sparrows, 2 robins, 4 starlings, 2 blackbirds, 2 blue tits, 2 bullfinches and 1 chubby dunnock. I was frustrated that a couple of other guests didn’t show up in the hour, as I know we have long-tailed tits and great tits hobbling around somewhere nearby…
But I was very proud to see my pair of bullfinches, who turned up a few days ago eating our rosehips. I read that they are monogamous, so I have become rather sentimental and declared them married.
There’s still time to take part in this year’s Birdwatch by registering here! Otherwise, you could take part in the Big Butterfly Count in the summer with the Butterfly Conservation Trust. I wrote about my 2014 count here, where I chased commas across the South Downs!