2017 Big Garden Bird Watch

Fill those feeders!

It’s not long until the RSPB’s Big Garden Bird Watch 2017. It runs January 28-30, Saturday to Monday. So even if you don’t normally feed your garden birds that gives you chance to put some feeders up and increase your chances of seeing something. Not that you have to have feeders up to take part, but obviously giving the birds a reason to stop off in your garden might make your count more interesting.

As easy as 1 2 3

The bird count is easy, just keep a record of the most of each species you see at one time, not all together as some birds might come back, and do it over a 60 minute period. It’s not about recording record numbers either, which I know is frustrating if you normally see 20 goldfinch, but have only seen one. Accurate results will show what’s doing well and what isn’t, both ends of the spectrum are important. Not sure what you’re looking at? download the RSPBs Garden Bird Watch pack for advice on different species and food types.

Food for thought

I used to have the standard mixed seed in my feeders, then over time I bought more specialist food like, nyjer seed for the finches, this helped increase the variety and numbers. Then I tried black sunflower seeds, which were popular, but a bit messy from birds dropping the husks. So I thought I’d give sunflower hearts a try. Once I put these in the feeder, everything else was ignored. Well, just about, long-tailed tits still like the fat balls, as do blackbirds and starlings (I’ve attached a perch so they can feed on them), but finches will prefer to wait for a free perch on the sunflower hearts than bother with the nyger seed. They all just want the easiest way to obtain the most energy from their meal. Why bother wasting energy taking the husk off a black sunflower seed if there’s another feeder with them already taken off; makes sense really.

So, put the kettle on, crack open a packet of your favourite biscuits and get counting!

Some of what I’m hoping to count…

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