Garden bird survey

We love joining in on the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch survey each January. Our results are really varied. One year there were hardly any birds, other years there are lots, but only a few varieties, and some years there are too many to count.

Weather and time of day helps. The two fieldfares and jenny wren I spotted at breakfast, didn’t make an appearance, where as the willow tit and mistle thrush surprised me with their presence, while we did the survey. We used to have flocks of green finches, but I didn’t see one. I think the fieldfares have frightened away the starlings, but I’m sure they will be back.

“Look, boy sparrow” TF

Basically, we spent an hour watching the garden. So that individual birds are not counted twice, we only count the maximum number of each type of bird we see at one moment. The sparrows won the prize for the most in the garden at one time. I counted 19, but I suspect that I missed some.

AJ joined me for most of the survey. I loved her company and was pleased that she recognized all the species. TF watched for a while and wrote his own list.

Although he took great care to include everything he saw, including one car, I think we’ll go with my list. He is recognizing robins, blackbirds, sparrows and a few others, which is an improvement from the summer. He thinks the crows are the “Daddies” to all the other birds, so a bit more work to be done there!

It was a blissful way to spend an hour. The sun was out and the temperature was above freezing. Perfect bird watching day.

Hope you had a lovely weekend.

{The top photo is of an original needlepoint cushion I designed and made back in 1996. I was inspired by a juvenile male greater spotted woodpecker who used to visit our quince tree every day. }

10 thoughts on “Garden bird survey

  • Monday 31 January, 2011 at 4:37 am

    The needlepoint cushion is stunning. The colours are beautiful.
    Anne xx

    • Monday 31 January, 2011 at 11:14 am

      Thanks Anne. It probably could do with a clean, but it is surviving the family’s “tender loving care” remarkably well. I think needlepoint is pretty tough.

  • Monday 31 January, 2011 at 5:02 am

    Holy moly! That’s one incredible needlepoint. And you designed it yourself? Wow! I love your son’s list. And the daddy birds, lol.

    • Monday 31 January, 2011 at 11:11 am

      Thanks Jodi. I made it before I had children. I’d love to do more but it seems frivolous to spend time making something that’s not keeping one of us warm!
      The little ones ideas on nature is always amusing. Makes me look at it all in a different way. Not convinced by the crows being the Daddy birds, though!

  • Tuesday 1 February, 2011 at 9:22 am

    I love the cushion, I read this yesterday and meant to come back and comment. Woodpeckers are beautiful to see, we had regualr visits from all 3 varieties at our last house, but rarely see any here. We do however get a kingfisher and a heron, so not so bad, of course, neither showed up for garden bird watch! I love the idea of the hula hooping from a previous post, knowing my luck the kids would have the hoop in a wink, and I wouldn’t get a look in!

    • Tuesday 1 February, 2011 at 10:40 am

      We get the green and greater spotted woodpeckers, but no kingfishers, which would be very welcome. I keep spotting other varieties that obviously had better seed offers while we were doing the survery. Better than one year, when we counted sparrows, greenfinches and starlings. That was it. Within minutes of the end of the hour, a nuthatch, a mob of long tailed tits and a whole host of other interesting birds turned up.

      I do hide my hoop, otherwise the children would probably use it for tug of war!

  • Thursday 3 February, 2011 at 1:44 am

    Love that needlepoint you clever person !

    No Milly Molly Mandy story is safe from us …lol

    • Thursday 3 February, 2011 at 10:17 am


      {……rushing off to put all our copies of Milly Molly Mandy in the safe}

  • Sunday 6 February, 2011 at 8:45 pm

    We have been doing a lot of bird watching at our house as well. Love the idea of participating in a survey; great science experience for the kids. Maybe next year!

    • Monday 7 February, 2011 at 12:49 am

      I’m sure you have something similar in the US. We do it every year, so it is part of the children’s schedule. Each year they are that little bit more involved. Well worth it.

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