Urban&Civic is encouraging residents of Alconbury Weald to take part in the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch this weekend.

This year’s event takes place on 29, 30 and 31 January 2021. The public is asked to spend just one hour watching and recording the birds in their garden, greenspace or courtyard, from the safety of their own home, then send their results to the RSPB. Close to half-a-million people join in the Birdwatch every year.

Over the past year, we’ve seen how important the natural world is to our mental health and wellbeing. There has been a surge in interest in the nature on our doorsteps and many people have come to rely on garden birds to bring joy and comfort in these unsettling times.

Just one hour every year, for the last four decades, has made the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch the largest garden wildlife citizen science project. Now in its 42nd year, 144 million birds have been counted giving the RSPB an astonishing amount of insight into how our wildlife is faring.

For four decades, Big Garden Birdwatch has highlighted the winners and losers in the garden bird world. The house sparrow remained at the top of the Big Garden Birdwatch rankings as the most commonly seen garden bird with nearly 1.3 million sighted in 2020. Starling held down the second spot once more, with the blue tit completing the top three.

While house sparrows and starlings may be the UK’s most commonly sighted birds, a closer look at Big Garden Birdwatch data shows that numbers have in fact dropped dramatically since the Birdwatch began in 1979. House sparrows are down 53% while starlings are down 80%. It’s a pattern echoed by two more garden favourites, with blackbirds and robins down 46% and 32% respectively.

To take part in the Big Garden Birdwatch 2021, watch the birds from the safety of your own home 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.

Rebecca Britton, from Urban&Civic said:

“Alconbury Weald has been designed to bring forward a range of habitats which support some of our vulnerable bird species, and while we carry out regular surveys to monitor this work, the Big Garden Birdwatch is a great way people can play their part in helping record the species around us. It is also a great way for people to learn more about the birds they might see out and about.

“We’re now working with the Wildlife Trust and RSPB to pull together additional guides for those wanting to make their gardens nature-friendly and ensure we all play our part in supporting our feathered friends”.

For more information and to sign up, visit www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch