How to spot the common garden birds

As the RSPB's birdwatch survey gets underway, here's a guide to how you can spot some of the most common garden birds.

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Warning over escaped golden eagle in West Wales

Police in Mid and West Wales have warned the public not to approach a massive golden eagle that has been spotted in the hills of Carmarthenshire.

More: How rare is the golden eagle in the UK?

It's thought the bird - which can have a wingspan of six feet - has escaped from captivity.

Alexandra Lodge reports from Llanllwni mountain

More: Cyclists have close encounter with 'lost' golden eagle

How rare is the golden eagle in the UK?

The golden eagle has no natural predators, with its main threat coming from humans who poison or shoot it.

  • The golden eagle last bred in Wales during the 18th century, after which hunting made it extinct.
  • Most of the UK's breeding pairs are in Scotland (more than 400 in 2003), although some have been reintroduced to Ireland in recent years.

More: Police warn public not to approach 'lost' golden eagle

The golden eagle became extinct over much of central Europe during the 19th century Credit: Press Association
  • The birds can have a wingspan of more than 2 metres.
  • The golden eagle has a varied diet and will prey on a variety of creatures depending on their habitat. In Scotland, they target hares and grouse, and seabirds in coastal areas.

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RSPB's Big Schools' Birdwatch launches in Wales

Children across Wales have been learning how to tell their sparrows from their starlings today as part of the RSPB's biggest wildlife survey.

It marks the start of the charity's Big Schools' Birdwatch, which records the types of birds found in and around school grounds.

Sarah Powell went along to a school in the Vale of Glamorgan to see if she could spot any!

Welsh schoolchildren begin Big Schools' Birdwatch

Children at Llangan Primary School in the Vale of Glamorgan learn how to spot birds Credit: Sarah Powell/ITV News

"Seeing it first hand is the single best way to enthuse young people about nature, and by watching birds from their classroom window, they can learn so much" says Tim Wort from RSPB Cymru.

"It's fun, easy and simple to set up, it works for all ages, and even if it's a dull, rainy January day you can still gaze out of the classroom and see a flash of colour."

Children are encouraged to note down birds they see at any one time Credit: Sarah Powell/ITV News

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Schools take part in worlds' biggest wildlife survey

The blackbird was the most commonly seen in school grounds, with 89% of schools seeing an average of 6 Credit: RSPB

From today, children in Wales will be taking part in the world's biggest school wildlife survey.

The survey helps to track bird numbers and gives an insight into populations, with the results contributing to the RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch - the world's biggest wildlife survey.

Last year, over 4,500 pupils and teachers across Wales counted the birds in their school grounds, discovering the Blackbird to be the most commonly seen.

It was followed by the Starling in second place, and the Black Headed Gull in third.

The starling was the second most common Credit: RSPB

Garden birds declining at 'alarming rate'

We know from the many people who take part in Big Garden Birdwatch every year that garden birds are incredibly precious to us. But, several of our familiar and best-loved species are continuing to decline at alarming rates.

We go to great lengths to ensure that special habitats in Wales are given the right levels of designation and legal protection because of their role in supporting threatened wildlife, but what's very clear is that every one of our gardens, the spaces literally on our doorsteps, are really important too and help connect us all to nature on a daily basis.

– Bethan Lloyd, RSPB Cymru
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