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Lancashire Times
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8:00 AM 30th December 2020
nature

The RSPB Shares Their Top Tips In Time For Annual Garden Big Garden Birdwatch Event

Discover which birds to look out for as garden feeders become a vital source of food when natural supplies run low
World’s largest garden wildlife survey returns, 29-31 January 2021
The Covid-19 pandemic has shown that for many people, garden birds provide an important connection to nature and bring joy and comfort as well as being vital for our mental health and wellbeing.

This winter, the RSPB are sharing their top tips for identifying the birds that may visit your garden feeders or local green space as their popular Big Garden Birdwatch is set to return for its 42nd year.

Hundreds of thousands of people across the UK will celebrate their love of nature and unite to watch and count the nation’s garden birds in January for the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch weekend.

This year’s event takes place on 29, 30 and 31 January 2021. Members of the public are asked to spend just one hour watching and recording the birds in their garden, balcony or local park, then send their results to the RSPB. Close to half a million people join in the Birdwatch every year.

Ahead of the event this year, and in light of a surge in public interest in the nature on their doorsteps since the Covid-19 pandemic began, the charity are sharing the top five birds to look out for in your garden, balcony or local greenspace:

1. House sparrows: The house sparrow is one of Britain's most well-known and best-loved birds. Males and females are easily distinguished; males have a grey head and black bib whilst females are pale brown with a pale stripe behind the eye. House sparrows are noisy and gregarious, often sticking together in small flocks, and like big hedges where they can all hide together. They socialise by taking dust or water baths together, as well as “social singing” where they call together in bushes.

2. Blue tits:
Streaked with a colourful mix of blue, yellow, white and green, blue tits are one of our most attractive garden visitors. Blue tits happily take all kinds of bird food and are a vibrant addition to gardens across the country.

3. Long tailed tits:
Often arriving at your feeders in large groups, long tailed tits are sociable birds with extended tails which have earnt them their name. With grey and pinkish feathers, these birds are particularly fluffy at this time of year too.

4. Robins: Commonly one of the first birds to start singing in the morning and found to be one of the last singing at night, the nation’s favourite bird can’t be missed. With its red chest that earns it the name “robin redbreast”, look out for this garden favourite darting through shrubs or perching on tree branches this winter.

5. Goldfinches: A much-loved little bird, the goldfinch announces its arrival with a tinkling, trilling call. Vibrantly coloured, goldfinches have red faces, black crowns and bold yellow wing patches. If you're lucky, you may even be visited by a small flock of them, appropriately known as a “charm”.

Thankfully, you don’t have to be an expert to tell a house sparrow from a goldfinch, as the RSPB has a useful bird identification guide on hand to help.

To take part in the Big Garden Birdwatch 2021 and help nature in the process, watch the birds in your garden or local park for one hour at some point over the three days in January. For your FREE Big Garden Birdwatch guide, which includes a bird identification chart, top tips for your birdwatch, RSPB shop voucher, plus advice on how to help you attract wildlife to your garden, text BIRD to 70030 or visit www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch

Goldfinch - photo John Bridges (rspb-images.com)
Goldfinch - photo John Bridges (rspb-images.com)
If you’re new to birdwatching, the RSPB also has some simple tips to get you started:

Start off small: It can seem daunting with so many bird species to distinguish between, but garden birds are a great way to start your birdwatching adventure. They are some of the easiest to identify and tend to hang around long enough for you to take a quick snap to reference later if you need.

Put up feeders: Not only will that make them stay for longer but if you feed them regularly, they’ll learn that your garden is a great place to keep coming to. Different feeders and food will attract a variety of birds so feel free to experiment and see who comes to visit. You don’t necessarily need an all singing all dancing feeder – even a tray on a table will make a nice start! More information about feeding birds can be found here.

Best time to watch: Although birds are around at any time - you’ll also see more birds first thing in the morning – as they say, the early bird catches the worm!

Whether you know a thing or two about birds or not, the RSPB are on hand to help you connect with the nature in your garden – there’s a fantastic range of resources on their website. https://www.rspb.org.uk/