This weekend (28-30 January) is the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch. It is easy to do and over half a million people will be taking part this year. You simply choose an hour over the 3-day period, and watch out for the wildlife that turns up. If you would like to take part you can sign up on the RSPB website where they will give you a pack to download. In the pack there is a booklet with a built-in year round wildlife calendar, plus a free fold out chart to help you identify the wildlife that is visiting your garden. At the end of your hour you will fill out a form to record what you have seen including other wildlife like hedgehogs and foxes.
The survey has been running since 1979 so they have gathered a lot of data over the years. They have found that starlings, once a very common garden visitor, have decreased by 81% and that the UK’s population of hedgehogs is rapidly declining (which I have mentioned here in the past). Knowing this information is the first step to finding a solution. Once the trouble spots have been identified, we can then work out what the problems are and how to tackle them.
If you don’t have a garden I would highly recommend a visit to the Falls of Clyde for a spot of bird watching. This week I have seen on numerous occasions Bullfinch, Goldfinch, Goldcrest, Great-spotted woodpecker, Jay, Long-tailed tit, Blue tit, Great tit, Dipper, Goosander, Blackbird, Cormorant, Heron, Chaffinch and Raven to name but a few. The Bullfinches and Goldfinches have been particularly common, feeding on teasels and eating other seeds from dead wildflowers that are dotted about the reserve. Take a walk up the road from the Power Station to the meadow and keep your eyes peeled!
Laura Preston – Falls of Clyde Ranger, Scottish Wildlife Trust
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