Want to get involved in the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch?
Watch the birds in your garden or local park for one hour on the weekend of 26 - 27 January 2013.
Record the highest number of each bird species you see at the same time. Don't count the total over the hour as you may get the same birds visiting more than once. Also, please only count those birds that land within your garden - not flying over.
Once your hour is up, tell the RSPB what you’ve seen. Even if you didn't get as many birds as you expected, or your 'regulars' didn't appear, it’s still really useful information.
Martin Stew reports on the Big Garden Birdwatch, and how London schoolchildren are getting involved.
Martin Stew on the RSPB's annual Big Garden Birdwatch:
The wintery weather may be tough on London's wildlife, but it's also perfect for spotting birds. The chilly snowy conditions force birds out into the open to search for food and shelter.
That's why the RSPB have chosen this weekend to hold their Big Garden Birdwatch. They want as many as possible of us to spend an hour in our garden or a local park counting every variety of bird we can spot. Last year 600,000 people took part across the country, counting around 9 million birds.
The RSPB have been keeping tabs on bird numbers this way since 1979 and the results have shown some interesting trends.
Changes to habitat in the London region have seen a markeddecrease in the number of birds who are reliant upon insects as a food source.The number of House sparrows has declined by 56%, It's been a similar picturefor starlings too.
RSPB London’s Tim Webb said: “Long-term trends show the Capital is losing its most common garden birds. That’s worrying because it suggests something has changed meaning they can no longer survive in London. All of them have diets containing insects, grubs and spiders. The obvious implication is that invertebrates,nature’s pollinators and recyclers, are missing from our gardens, streets and waterways. That is alarming.”
“The Birdwatch,” added Tim. “Is also a great way to get to know the creatures that live around us. Whether at home with the family, with classmates at school or with friends in the beer garden of the local pub, we’re all joining forces to discover and record our changing world. Feeding birds is often a child’s first encounter with wildlife and understanding how we are reliant on, and part of, nature.”
Some birds are bucking the trend though. The goldfinch has seen a revival in London because it feeds on grass seed which is often abundent.
If you want to get involved this weekend click here to find out more.