Big Garden Birdwatch

The sub-zero temperatures across Wales are driving more birds into our gardens in search of food. The RSPB encouraged people to watch and track them during the Big Garden Birdwatch over the weekend.

Thousands participate in Big Garden Birdwatch

The Big Garden Birdwatch helps experts analyse the increase and decline in bird species Credit: Tim Goode/PA Wire

Thousands of people across Wales have been taking part in the Big Garden Birdwatch over the last couple of days.

The RSPB says the cold weather has made birds head to parks and gardens in their search for food.

Amateur watchers noted the highest number of each species seen in their gardens or local park. Their findings will help experts gather vital information about the species that populate our gardens and parks.

Birdwatch reveals 'alarming decline' in some species

Starling
There has been a dramatic decline in the number of starlings (pictured) seen in our gardens Credit: Johnny Green/PA

The Big Garden Birdwatch has helped highlight an 'alarming decline' in some species, according to the RSPB.

An average of 15 starlings were seen per garden during the first Birdwatch in 1979. By 2012 that had fallen to an average of three starlings per garden - the lowest level ever recorded.

House sparrow numbers have also fallen by two-thirds over the lifetime of the Birdwatch.

It's not all bad news, however - some bird species have fared considerably better over the anual event's 34 years.

Sightings of popular species like blue tits, great tits and coal tits in gardens have increased since 1979.

And goldfinches, which were absent from the Big Garden Birdwatch top 15 in the early years, have featured regularly as a top 15 species since 2004.

Dana Thomas, from RSPB Cymru, said: "The decline of birds like starlings and sparrows over the last 30 years or so has been alarming.

"But Big Garden Birdwatch has helped us find out more about their numbers and distribution across UK gardens, and that has been the first step in helping to put things right."

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Big Garden Birdwatch helps RSPB 'gather vital data'

The RSPB says this weekend's Big Garden Birdwatch, which is taking place across Wales, will help gather vital information about the species that populate our gardens and parks.

It's a great way to get to know the creatures that live around us, and that's especially important for children. Feeding garden birds can often be a child's first encounter with wildlife and can spark a lifelong interest in nature.

– Dana Thomas from RSPB Cymru

Thousands expected to join Big Garden Birdwatch

The freezing temperatures have meant many birds struggling to source food (file photo) Credit: Katja Ogrin/EMPICS Entertainment

With more sub-zero temperatures on the way, many wild birds are likely to be driven into our parks and gardens in search of food.

This weekend thousands across Wales are expected to join in with the Big Garden Birdwatch - noting the highest number of each species seen in their gardens or local park, then submitting the results to the RSPB.

Last year almost 30,000 people across Wales took part in the watch, counting half a million birds between them.