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Published 10th Jan 2018

RSPB big garden birdwatch 2018 takes place on 27 to 29 january 2018

Thousands of people across Tees Valley are expected to watch and count their garden birds for the upcoming RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 2018.

The world’s largest garden wildlife survey, now in its 39th year, takes place on 27, 28 and 29 January 2018. The public are asked to spend just one hour watching and recording the birds in their garden or local green space, then send their results to the RSPB.

Close to half-a-million people joined in the world’s largest garden wildlife survey in 2017, including over 3800 in the Tees Valley, counting more than eight million birds and providing valuable information about the wildlife using our gardens in winter. The starling remained top of the Big Garden Birdwatch rankings in the county, with house sparrow and blackbird rounding off the top three.

To help prepare for Big Garden Birdwatch 2018, visitors can drop-in to RSPB Saltholme near Middlesbrough. Alongside its real wildlife inhabitants, throughout January the reserve will be yarn-bombed by all sorts of wonderful knitted nature, including garden birds and some famous faces such as Peter Rabbit. Visitors are invited to come along any day of the month when the site is offering free entry (normally £5 per car).

As well as the return of all things knitted, Saltholme will be welcoming back storyteller extraordinaire Chris Connaughton on Saturday 13, Sunday 14, Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 January. Story sessions will be at 10.30am, 12.30pm and 2pm on each of these days. Cost £4 per person (£3 RSPB members). Booking is essential by phoning 01642 546625.

On the Big Garden Birdwatch weekend itself, pop into the shop at Saltholme from 10am-3pm to discover more about feeding garden birds and attracting garden wildlife. Visit rspb.org.uk/salthome for more information on all these events and more.

Daniel Hayhow, RSPB Conservation Scientist said: “The birds we see in our garden are often the first experience we have with nature – whether it’s a flock of starlings at the feeder, a robin perched on the fence or some house sparrows splashing in the bird bath. But it may come as a surprise to know that some of our most-loved species are in desperate need of our help as their numbers have dropped dramatically.

Species such as starlings and greenfinches have seen their numbers visiting gardens decline by 79 and 59 per cent retrospectively since the first Birdwatch in 1979.

Daniel added: “The Big Garden Birdwatch is a great opportunity to get involved with helping our garden wildlife. By counting the birds that visit your outdoor space, you’ll be joining a team of over half-a-million people across the UK who are making a difference for nature. It only takes an hour so grab a cuppa, sit back and see who makes a flying visit to your garden.”

As well as counting birds, the RSPB is once again asking participants to log some of the other wildlife they have seen throughout the year. This year, people are being asked to look out for badger, fox, grey squirrel, red squirrel, muntjac deer, roe deer, frog and toad.

To take part in the Big Garden Birdwatch 2018, participants should watch the birds in the garden or local park for one hour at some point over the three days. Only the birds that land in the garden or local park should be counted, not those flying over. The highest number of each type of bird seen at any one time then needs to be sent to the RSPB.

The parallel event, Big Schools’ Birdwatch takes place during the first half of spring term next year, 2 January-23 February 2018. Further information can be found at rspb.org.uk/schoolswatch

For a free Big Garden Birdwatch pack, which includes a bird identification chart, plus RSPB shop voucher and advice to help attract wildlife garden, text BIRD to 70030 or visit rspb.org.uk/birdwatch

 Image courtesy of Rahul Thanki, rspb-images.com



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