This morning I spent an hour gazing out of our bedroom window with a coffee, a notebook, and a pair of binoculars. Not sure what the neighbours opposite us thought I was doing but I was happy – this weekend is the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch! I’ve taken part in it every year since Karin and I moved into our present house in February 2012, and I thought it was time to show the results to date.
As you can see in the graph above, for the first couple of years there were relatively few birds (only 6 species in 2013, 8 in 2014). Then in 2015 it jumped to 15 species, including some that I’ve not recorded in the garden since such as Lesser redpoll. Two reasons for this sudden increase I think. First of all, January 2015 was particualrly cold which meant that more birds were moving into urban areas looking for food and a little more warmth. But secondly, and the reason why higher bird diversity has been maintained since then, is that we’ve been developing the garden and planting more shrubs, small trees, etc.
So since 2012 we’ve gone from this:
This planting and development of the garden has been good for other wildlife including bees, butterflies and other pollinators, as I’ve recounted a number of times. So here’s a close up from last summer just to remind us that, on this grey, drizzly January day, spring is not so far away:
Of course you don’t need to have a garden to take part in the Big Garden Birdwatch – the RSPB also accepts data from surveys of public parks and green space. In fact tomorrow morning I’m leading a group of residents around our local park, The Racecourse, to do just such a survey.
Right, must go and upload this years data to the RSPB’s site.