The big count

The Daily Telegraph - Gardening - - Front Page -

What if there are no birds to count? Like many gar­dens in Bri­tain, it took a long time for any birds to show up in mine this win­ter. Such has been the con­cern among bird lovers that the RSPB had to put out a press re­lease to ex­plain what was go­ing on. The an­swer was sim­ple: the mild weather meant birds could find food in the wild – they didn’t need us. “Birds tend to be pushed into gar­dens the harder the weather is,” says Bash­ford, “so the milder the weather, the fewer birds you will see in your gar­den.”

This doesn’t bode well for the Big Gar­den Birdwatch, as finches and win­ter mi­grants such as redwings and field­fares are less likely to turn up. How­ever, it’s still worth tak­ing part. “Even if the weather is mild and there are fewer birds in your gar­den on the day of the count, please do still sub­mit your re­sults,” urges Bash­ford.

Th­ese low sight­ings can still be com­pared to those of other mild win­ters, help­ing track na­tional pop­u­la­tion trends.

To take part in the Big Gar­den Birdwatch, sim­ply spend an hour record­ing the high­est num­ber of each bird species seen in your gar­den or lo­cal park at any one time. Visit rspb.org. uk/birdwatch/ for more de­tails.

Kate Brad­bury is the au­thor of The Wildlife Gar­dener (Kyle Books, £14.99)

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