This weekend we will be taking part in the RSPB annual Big Garden Birdwatch.
As usual our watch will be carried out from a house window in far more comfort than the birds will be experiencing.
It's a really easy 'task' - all we need to do is log how many birds of each species we see at one time in a chosen hour during the period 28 - 30 January. More information is available on the RSPB site here from which you can also download a free information pack.
Over time we have enjoyed watching a wide range of bird species visiting our garden. Our sighted species list is here. During bird watch weekend, however even our regulars are noticeable in their absence. I often wonder whether this is as a result of more people feeding the birds so they can take part in the watch. It would be a shame if these people forget about the birds once the novelty wore off and stopped putting food out.
I also wonder how much the information is skewed by birds being misidentified. For instance a female blackbird can be mistaken for a thrush and to some people a small brown bird is always a sparrow. I wrote an article on our website a while ago about how some species could easily be mistaken for others. It includes lots of photographs and is here if you are interested.
Last year our bird count results were disappointing - the lowest overall total during the time we have been recording the numbers since 2012. Our previous years' totals are posted here. I hope that this year the birds decide to stick around. Maybe it wouldn't hurt to remind them who tries to help them out when the going gets tough.