Garden Birdwatch
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What it does

Garden Birdwatch monitors the changing fortunes of birds and other garden wildlife through its network of 'citizen scientists'. Observations collected by BTO Garden BirdWatchers are analysed by BTO researchers and published in leading journals. BTO Garden BirdWatchers have charted the decline of the House Sparrow, the rise of the Woodpigeon, have discovered that urban birds get up later than their rural counterparts and have alerted conservationists to the impact of an emerging disease in Greenfinches.

Garden BirdWatch is all about getting involved and making a difference by collecting simple information on the birds and other wildlife using your garden. This information enables researchers at the BTO to monitor the changing fortunes of garden wildlife.

It is a bit similar to the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch which takes place in January but this scheme runs all year and you can record almost all species you see in your garden such as butterflies, bees, reptiles and mammals.

How to do it

Participants define a recording area, typically their whole garden but in larger gardens this may just be that part of the garden that can be easily watched. They then record the birds and other wildlife using this area in a systematic way. Since a key aim of Garden BirdWatch is to get a relative measure of change in garden use, participants are asked to spend a similar amount of time recording each week. Some choose to watch their garden for an hour on a Sunday morning, while other spend half an hour each day throughout the week. Differences between observers can be controlled for when we come to analyse the observations but consistency from week to week for individual observers is important.

What you get if you join

There is an annual subscription to pay but, if you join, you will receive four copies of Bird Table (our quarterly magazine), be able to access GBW Online (your very own web-based notebook for recording your garden wildlife) and get expert advice from the BTO to help you identify, understand and look after the wildlife in your garden

To participate

You need to join Garden Birdwatch if you wish to participate in this survey.

The link is at

Although I have no responsibility for this survey (save for taking part) I am more than willing to answer any questions on it if you would like more information.  If so, please contact me

© Penny Williams 2016