Six on Saturday: Big Garden Birdwatch

This weekend is the weekend of the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch. The Birdwatch is held over one weekend in January each year. The results from this little piece of citizen science that gives valuable data on the ups and downs of birds in the UK. In preparation for doing my hour watch I have been working for the last few months to have the garden ready and as bird-friendly as possible.

1. Cleaning the feeders

Bird feeders should be cleaned regularly to cut down the spread of infection from birds visiting. In preparation for the birdwatch, I got a new long-handled feeder brush and spray to give my feeders a good clean. I find the birds seem to like this and I often see an increase in bird numbers after feeding.

2. Increasing the feeders

During Winter I increase my number of feeders to help support the birds who may be struggling. During warmer months there is plenty of readily available food for the birds.

3. Increasing the variety

Different birds like different food. Some eat on the ground, some can hang from feeders, others need a solid stand. In order to accommodate this, I put out a variety of feeders and types of food.

Suet seems to be a good all-round choice. It gives a solid energy burst without the birds having to spend much effort.

A good quality seed mix is popular among many of the birds visiting.

Nyger is popular with the finches.

Sunflower seeds are again popular with the finches and many of the smaller birds.

The ground feeders are good for pigeons and blackbirds.

Meat brings in the corvids.

Just about anything brings in the gulls.

4. Water

While many people feed the birds not as many supply a drink. I’ve been having to crack the surface each day. A ball in the bowl can stop freezing but the gulls round mine fling them out.

5. The kit

No good doing a count without being able to see and identify. I’ve got my binoculars ready.

Alice has been out the last few weekends practising. After a year she has started holding them the right way round.

The cameras telephoto lens is ready. Then the trail camera is set up closer to the action.

6. The snacks

Time to put my feet up to enjoy a cuppa and snacks and see how many birds I can count.

Hope you have enjoyed my six. If you fancy taking part you can find details on the RSPB website. My results will follow later. Wish me luck!

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Alice is already making notes and drawing what she’s seen.

 

29 thoughts on “Six on Saturday: Big Garden Birdwatch”

  1. I keep hoping that the birds will come back but I think our little cat doesn’t help and the fact that the plum tree next to the bird table is almost devoid of branches now so provides little or no cover! I notice your Matt Sewell book – I bought the one on Garden Birds for my husband then saw the one on Woodland Birds so bought that too. Very clever illustrations and funny descriptions. Nice Six again.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Such a great post with helpful hints. We supply birds here with 10-12 feeders of all types. Yes, washing them is key, especially in the mucky season. Your Alice may possibly be the cutest birdwatcher ever. May your count go well!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lovely to see Alice so enthralled, it is good to get them interested in nature whilst they are young. Too windy here this weekend for many birds so I am hoping tomorrow I might be able to grab an hour to record my visitors.

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    1. Both my neighbours had cats but one has given theirs to a relative and since then got a lot more birds in. Still one cat visiting, but have climbers covering the fence near main feeder so the cat can’t pounce down on them.

      Like

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