RSPB’s Birdwatch weekend offers a perfect lockdown activity

The 2021 Big Garden Birdwatch takes place this weekend, from Friday January 29 to Sunday January 31.

And organisers, the RSPB, hope that even during lockdown – perhaps because of lockdown – it’s going to be the biggest piece of wildlife monitoring ever staged in this country, with the public asked to stay at home and monitor the wild birds from the safety of their window or balcony.

The RSPB has also lined up a series of special guests in online events across the weekend, including live Q&A sessions with experts, feeder cams, how-to guides and live-streamed results as they happen, all available on YouTube.

Sat 10am Chris Packham and Megan McCubbin, live from their garden in the New Forest.
Sun 10am Notes on Nature Live with special guests Deborah Meaden, Simon Mayo, Mike Dilger and Brigit Strawbridge Howard.

Celeb birdwatcher: Brigit Strawbridge Howard is among those featuring on YouTube this weekend

To play your part in this mass data-collection event, you can choose any one hour between January 29 and January 31.

Count the birds you see in your garden or from your balcony. This year the advice is to take part in the safety of your own home. This could include a birdwatch from your window if you overlook a green space or courtyard.

Ignore any birds that are still in flight. To avoid double-counting, just record the highest number of each bird species you see at any one time – not a running total.

Submit your results. You can submit your results online at

The RSPB says, “Every count is important, so if you don’t see anything, please still submit your result. Finding out which birds don’t visit your area is as important as understanding those which do.”

For a bird identification pack, click here.

The RSPB says, “Thanks to people taking part in the Big Garden Birdwatch, we now have over 40 years of data and this has helped increase our understanding of the challenges faced by wildlife.

“It was one of the first surveys to identify the decline of song thrushes in gardens.

“This species was a firm fixture in the top 10 in 1979. But by 2019, those numbers had declined by 76 per cent. House sparrow sightings have dropped by 53 per cent since the first Birdwatch in 1979. However, in the past 10 years their numbers have grown by 10% showing that we are beginning to see some signs of recovery.

“Results like these help us spot problems. But, more importantly, they are the first step towards putting things right.”

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