Skip to main content

Call to join Big Garden Birdwatch this weekend

big birdwatch 2021
The public is invited to take part in the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch. (Image credit: Eleanor Bentall (rspb-images.com))

The RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch takes place across the UK this weekend – and it’s set to be the largest survey yet.

It’s expected that more than half a million people will spend an hour between January 29 and 31 watching and recording birds from their garden, balcony or window. The results are then sent to the RSPB. 

With the survey now in its 42nd year, 144 million birds have been counted to date, which gives the RSPB and RSPB Scotland an astonishing amount of insight into how our wildlife is faring. 

Anne McCall, Director of RSPB Scotland, said: “I am delighted that more people than ever have signed up for this year’s Big Garden Birdwatch so far. 

"Throughout the pandemic, we’ve seen just how important our connection to nature is.

"With more time spent in our homes and local areas noticing the wildlife around us, many of us have found a renewed appreciation for nature locally. 

“I would encourage everyone who can to take part in Big Garden Birdwatch, not only for the phenomenal amount of data it produces, but also to take some time really focusing on the little things, to relax and to enjoy the benefits of spending time watching nature.”

Family recording bird visits, Big Garden Birdwatch event

A mother and child record bird visits in a Big Garden Birdwatch event (Image credit: Eleanor Bentall (rspb-images.com))

The data from the Big Garden Birdwatch helps the RSPB to create a picture of how bird populations in the UK are faring, which then informs the work done to protect those species most at risk. 

Keith Morton, Senior Species Policy Officer, said: “Every submission is important, even if you don’t see a single bird, and enjoying nature is just as important as counting it.”

To take part in the Big Garden Birdwatch 2021, watch the birds you can see from your home for an hour at some point over the three days. Only count the birds that land, not those flying over. 

Record the highest number of each bird species you see at any one time – not the total you see in the hour. 

To download a 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 visit the Birdwatch site.   

Family records birds

A family records the birds they spot in their garden (Image credit: Rahul Thanki (rspb-images.com))

Big Garden Birdwatch 2020 results

Last January, almost half a million people counted eight million birds. The top 10 birds spotted were: 

  1. House sparrow
  2. Starling
  3. Blue tit
  4. Woodpigeon
  5. Blackbird
  6. Goldfinch
  7. Great tit
  8. Robin
  9. Long-tailed tit
  10. Magpie

Blackbird in a garden

Blackbirds achieved number five on the list of the most seen birds of last year's birdwatch event (Image credit: Ray Kennedy (rspb-images.com))

A great tit in a UK garden

The great tit was the seventh most spotted garden bird in the event in 2020. (Image credit: Chris Gomersall (rspb-images.com))

Big Garden Birdwatch Live

Experts from across the UK will be revealing photos, footage and facts about the birds they see, as well as answering any questions you may have, during a live event. 

In addition there will be live quizzes and familiar faces throughout the weekend.

Read: Our best binoculars guide.

Fiona Russell

Fiona Russell is a widely published adventure journalist and blogger, who is better known as Fiona Outdoors. She is based in Scotland and is an all-round outdoors enthusiast with favourite activities including trail running, mountain walking, mountain biking, road cycling, triathlon and skiing, both downhill and back country. Her target for 2021 is to finish the final nine summits in her first round of all 282 Munros, the Scottish mountains of more than 3,000ft high. Aside from being outdoors, Fiona's biggest aim is to inspire others to enjoy the great outdoors, especially through her writing. She is also rarely seen without a running skort! Find out more at Fiona Outdoors.