It will be all eyes to the skies on 25 and 26 January for the RSPB’s annual Big Garden Birdwatch and the charity is urging everyone in Northern Ireland to set aside just one hour to participate in this fun, free and important activity. Last year more than 10,000 people in Northern Ireland took part, and the biggest garden wildlife survey in the world revealed some worrying trends.
Some of our most threatened and best-loved bird species continued to decline - numbers of House Sparrows dropped by 17 per cent in gardens compared to 2012, whilst Bullfinches and Dunnocks, both amber-listed, fell by 20 per cent and 13 per cent respectively.
This year, for the first time, participants are also being asked to log some of the other wildlife they see in their gardens – from squirrels to badgers, hedgehogs to frogs - to help build an overall picture of how important our gardens are for giving all types of animals a home. Participants don’t have to count these non-avian species over the Big Garden Birdwatch weekend, just tell the RSPB if they have ever seen them in their gardens.
To take part, people are asked to spend just one hour at any time during Big Garden Birdwatch weekend noting the highest number of each bird species seen in their gardens or local outside space at any one time. They then have three weeks to submit their results to the RSPB, either online at www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch or in the post.
Amy Ryan from RSPB Northern Ireland commented: “Every single person who takes part in the Big Garden Birdwatch is helping us learn about what is happening with our much-loved feathered friends. The situation has been dire for birds like House Sparrows over the last 30 years, but by knowing the exact situation, we can help to put things right.”
|Blackbird by Nigel Blake|