UNDERSTANDING NATURE | BIG GARDEN BIRDWATCH

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UNDERSTANDING NATURE | BIG GARDEN BIRDWATCH

"I value my garden more for being full of blackbirds than of cherries, and very frankly give them fruit for their songs."

JOSEPH ADDISON 

This month (between the 29th and 31st January) the RSPB will launch their Big Garden Birdwatch. They are asking people to stop for an hour and spend that time in their gardens or on their balcony's counting the birds that they can see. It's a beautiful, simple, interesting and useful survey and we know that our wonderful extended Töastie family will want to be a part of this! 

You can read how to participate here. It's really straightforward, you simply count any groups of birds species you can see (ignoring those in flight) and record these. Best to record in groups of species you can see at any one time to avoid double counting! 

How does Big Garden Birdwatch help?

Thanks to all those that participate in the survey, Big Garden Birdwatch now has over 40 years of data, helping to 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% – coming in at number 20. And did you know that house sparrow sightings have dropped by 53% 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.

Download our free printable sheet as a guide to knowing the most common birds to be found in your garden - and your littles can enjoy colouring all the lovely birds in after your hour of Big Garden Birdwatching. 



A 'CONSPIRACY' OF RAVENS

Ravens can imitate sounds just like parrots. 
A group of Ravens is called a conspiracy

Did you know...

Birds are the only animals alive today that evolved from dinosaurs ... fortunately they have lost some of their in-flight presence since the days when Pterodactyls roamed the skies. 

WOODPIGEON
The Woodpigeon is the largest of all European pigeons, common in gardens, parks, farms and woodlands.  Did you know most birds drink by gulping water then throwing their heads back, so the water pours down their throats. Pigeons suck water, using their beaks like straws.

STARLING 
A flock of Starlings is called a murmuration. Each bird tried to match its neighbours speed and direction.  The constantly changing shape of the murmuration makes it a clever decoy against attacking birds of prey. 

WRENS 
This tiny little bird has mouse-like movements.  It can be found rushing around, under trees and bushes where they can camouflage well. When this small restless bird stops to sing it perks up its tail, puffs out its wings and opens its long bill wide - its song can be heard from afar 
A wren will feed its young more than 500 spiders and caterpillars in a single day.
 
ROBIN
This easily recognised bird in Britain defends its territory with extreme aggression.  Robins are known for boldly following gardeners digging, in the hope of picking up worms and grubs that are dug up.
Young robins lack the characteristic colour of their parents, their dull plumage allows them to hide from predators.

BLACKBIRD
The most common bird in Britain (the male) with its piercing golden yellow rings around its eyes and yellow bill. 
The song of the blackbird is arguably the most beautiful and best-loved of any British bird, as well as being the most familiar. They typically like to sing after the rain which in England we luckily get to hear a lot of!



CHEEP CHEEP

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