Get set for the big birdwatch
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THOUSANDS of people across Hampshire and Surrey are set to turn their eyes skyward this weekend as they take part annual Birdwatch.
The national wildlife survey event is taking place from in Big the RSPB’s Garden January 28 to 30 and encourages people of all ages to count birds across the country.
In preparation, developer Barratt has teamed up with the RSPB to give its top tips on how residents can ensure they have plenty of feathered friends close by.
Sales director Michelle Storer said: “The Big Garden Birdwatch is such an exciting event and we wanted to encourage homeowners who own a brand new property to get involved and invite birds into their garden.
“Birds are absolutely mesmerising in their behaviours and this is something that, as a nation, we should be able to appreciate more.
“The top tips we have chosen are all fun activities that the whole family can enjoy, creating new memories in their new homes as well as a haven for birds to visit.”
During the colder months birds need a lot of energy just to maintain their body temperature, so it’s important to feed them foods that are high in fat, such as sunflower seeds, peanuts or fat- based food bars.
Make sure that you also provide daily fresh water for your garden birds either in a birdbath, pond or even a recycled, shallow container with a stone inside so that they can perch - birds need this not only to drink, but to bathe too.
Sadly, the UK population of house sparrows has halved in recent years, so the RSPB is encouraging people to build sparrow boxes and put them up in their gardens, providing shelter and a home for the birds and their chicks.
For for those who don’t have the time to make one, the bird boxes are available to buy website.
Trees offer song perches, nesting sites, safe retreats, and highways in the sky, so there’s no reason why this wouldn’t help bring some wildlife into your own garden. Apple trees are a perfect choice for those with less room.
Now in its 38th year, the Big Garden Birdwatch is the largest garden wildlife survey in the world, and this year for the first time it extends over three days.
The RSPB hopes this change, made in response to high demand, will allow even more people to take part and help the RSPB understand how our wildlife is doing.
Figures from previous from the RSPB years show declines in the numbers of many once- familiar birds visiting gardens, such as house sparrows, blue tits, blackbirds, robins and dunnocks.
Some birds, such as starlings, chaffinches, wrens, collared doves and greenfinches, have shown particularly severe declines.
However, a few species have become more common in our gardens, including goldfinches, long- tailed tits, and wood pigeons.
Last year 519,000 people all over the UK counted an incredible 8,262,662 birds.
The results of this year’s Big Garden Birdwatch will be published in March.
For more details www. rspb. org. uk. visit
The population of house sparrows has halved in recent years.