Garden birds are counting on you! Big Garden Birdwatch 2023 Together, let’s make it count

  • RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch is the largest garden wildlife survey in the world and provides a snapshot of how garden birds are faring in the UK.
  • In 2022, nearly 700,000 people across the UK took part counting 11 million birds.
  • With birds now facing so many challenges due to the nature and climate emergency, every count matters.

The world’s largest garden wildlife survey returns, with hundreds of thousands of people watching and counting the UK’s garden birds over the last weekend in January for the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch.


Over 44,000 people took part in Scotland in 2022, counting over 830,000 birds.


This year’s event takes place on 27, 28 and 29 January. People are asked to spend just one hour watching and recording the birds in their garden, balcony or local park, then send their results to the RSPB.


This year marks the 44th Big Garden Birdwatch. Starting in 1979, it has since become a much-loved annual event, that helps give the RSPB a valuable snapshot of how our garden birds are doing in the UK. Over that time, 172 million birds have been counted and nearly 11 million hours spent watching garden birds.


Anne McCall, Director of RSPB Scotland said: “To help nature, we must first understand it. Big Garden Birdwatch is when we all come together to help build a picture of how our wild birds are doing. With the climate and nature crisis unfolding around us, it is more important than ever to grow that understanding. You do not have to be an expert – anyone can join in and all of the information is useful. If you don’t have a garden, visit your nearest park or greenspace. Or simply spend an hour looking out from your window or balcony. Last year 44,000 people across Scotland counted 800,000 birds. We found out that the greenfinch, a species that had been struggling, may be beginning to recover. We recorded a welcome increase in the beautiful goldfinch. Perhaps most importantly, everyone taking part stepped back from everyday stresses and strains, and spent an hour simply focusing on the wildlife around them. Everyone can benefit from that – why not join us this year?”


The house sparrow remained at the top of the Big Garden Birdwatch rankings as the most commonly seen garden bird in 2022 with more than 14,000 recorded in Scotland and 1.7 million sightings in the UK. Starling was in second place in Scotland, while the blue tit completed the top three.


Over its four decades, Big Garden Birdwatch has highlighted the winners and losers in the garden bird world. It was first to alert the RSPB to the decline in song thrush numbers, which are down a shocking 81% compared to the first Big Garden Birdwatch in 1979. This species was a firm fixture in the top 10 in 1979, but by 2009, its numbers were less than half those recorded in 1979. It came in at 20 in the UK rankings last year, seen in just 8% of gardens. [note 4]


To take part in the Big Garden Birdwatch 2023, watch the birds on your balcony, in your garden or in your local green space 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.


The parallel event RSPB Big Schools’ Birdwatch takes place during the first half of spring term, 6 January – 20 February 2023. In 2021, it celebrated its 20th anniversary of connecting children with nature in their school grounds. Since its launch, over a million school children and teachers have taken part. Further information can be found at www.rspb.org.uk/schoolswatch


For your FREE Big Garden Birdwatch guide, which includes a bird identification chart, top tips for your birdwatch, RSPB shop voucher, plus advice on how to help you attract wildlife to your garden, text BIRD to 70030 or visit www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch


Registration for Big Garden Birdwatch 2023 is open now.


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