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Yorkshire Coast Asked to Take Part in Birdwatch

Yorkshire Coast Asked to Take Part in Birdwatch

Published by Jon Burke at 8:02am 25th January 2020. (Updated at 10:00am 25th January 2020)

This year’s mild winter weather could see tiny garden visitors making a star appearance in the annual RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch as warmer conditions give smaller birds a booster chance of survival.

Petite birds, such as wrens and long-tailed tits suffer during long, bitter, winters but the warmer January weather this year may well have been a boon.

The RSPB also had reports of early nesting activity in some species, which is almost certainly linked to these higher temperatures. But will we see any differences in the birds being recorded in gardens for this year’s Big Garden Birdwatch? Sometimes, warmer temperatures mean fewer birds come into gardens for food and shelter as conditions are good in the countryside – what will this year show?

We're all being encouraged to spend an hour in our gardens just counting birds and there are also a number of organised counts taking place in Scarborough's South Cliff Gardens on Sunday.

Becca Smith is from the RSPB

There are three counts taking place in Scarborough's South Cliff Gardens on Sunday.

If you are going to be counting in your own back garden the RSPB have produced a useful print out counting sheet which includes pictures to help identify the birds in your garden. You can download a copy by clicking on the image below.

RSPB Bird Watch

For the past 41 years hundreds of thousands of people have volunteered an hour of their time to help the RSPB learn more about the birds that live in our gardens and provide the charity an annual snapshot of how our wild neighbours are faring.

In that time almost 140 million birds have been counted, helping the RSPB to highlight some dramatic declines and increases in garden birds. Our wildlife is having a tough time with the recent State of Nature report revealing that 41% of UK species studied have declined.

The RSPB’s Chief Executive, Beccy Speight, said:

“You don’t have to leave home to support nature. For many people a great way to get more involved in nature is waiting for them just outside their window, watching the birds in their garden or local park. The data gathered by Big Garden Birdwatch-ers over the last 40 years has helped chart the decline and rise of numerous species since the 1970s. And contributing to that important piece of citizen science is for many thousands of people a first step in becoming champions for nature.

With global leaders meeting later this year to make vital decisions concerning how we combat climate change and biodiversity loss, it has never been more important for everyone to feel connected to our amazing wildlife and take action for it. The State of Nature report released in September showed that more than half of UK species are in decline.

More than ever we need everyone to be interested in the wildlife immediately around them – it’s endlessly fascinating.   And at the RSPB, we’re confident that the more time we all spend in nature, the more we will be passionate about protecting and restoring it.”

“With global leaders deciding the fate of our planet later this year, it has never been more important for people to feel connected to our amazing wildlife. The State of Nature report released in September showed more than 41% of UK species are in serious decline.” 

This year’s event takes place on 25, 26 and 27 January 2020. The public is 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 join in the Birdwatch every year. 

To mark the event, the RSPB is encouraging participants to share their Big Garden Birdwatch stories. How will you #BigGardenBirdWatch? will showcase some of the best examples of how people take part from building their own birdwatching den, baking birdseed cakes and dressing up as Batman to see Robin. 

For four decades, Big Garden Birdwatch has highlighted the winners and losers in the garden bird world. It was one of the first surveys to alert the RSPB to the decline in the number of song thrushes in gardens. This species was a firm fixture in the top 10 in 1979 but 30 years later its numbers are less than half those recorded in 1979. By 2019, numbers of song thrushes seen in gardens have declined by 76%, coming in at number 20.

The house sparrow remained at the top of the Big Garden Birdwatch rankings as the most commonly seen garden bird with more than 1.2 million recorded sightings in 2019.

To take part in the Big Garden Birdwatch 2020, watch the birds in your garden or local park for one hour at some point over the three days. Only count the birds that land, not those flying over. Tell us the highest number of each bird species you see at any one time – not the total you see in the hour.

Once you have recorded the birds that make a visit, submit your results online at

The parallel event, RSPB Big Schools’ Birdwatch takes place during the first half of spring term (6 January – 21 February 2019). More than 60,000 schoolchildren spent an hour in nature counting more than 100,000 birds in 2019. More information can be found at


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