RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch takes flight this weekend

Credit: PA

Thousands of households across Cumbria and the south of Scotland will be watching and counting their garden birds this weekend in a nationwide conservation project.

The RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch is a wildlife survey where people are asked to spend an hour watching and recording the species of birds in their garden, then send their results to the organisation.

It allows the RSPB to examine trends and declines in the number of different types of birds.

The survey started in 1979 and last year more than half a million people counted 8,262,662 birds!

There was a rise in sightings of gardens birds such as coal tits and great tits.

Small, insect-eating birds, like long- tailed tits, are susceptible to the cold as the food they rely on is hard to come by in frosts and snow, so milder conditions were likely to have contributed to a higher survival rate.

They have also adapted to feeding on seeds and peanuts at bird tables or from hanging feeders.

Since 2006 the average number of long-tailed tits seen in UK gardens has increased by 52%, while great tit numbers have gone up by 13% and coal tits by 9%.

House sparrows remained top of the results in Scotland last year, with chaffinches and starlings rounding off the top three.