Sisters in Bristol Join The Big Garden Birdwatch
In 1973 the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds instigated what was to become the world’s biggest wildlife survey, The Big Garden Birdwatch. The sisters in the Bristol community took part in the Big Garden Birdwatch
and Sr Florence Kavanagh relates: “On January 26th and 27th we were asked to take part in the “Big Birdwatch” organised by the RSPB. We needed to spend one hour watching the birds which come into the garden for food. I was very surprised to find such a large number of birds coming to eat. We had apples for the blackbirds and seeds and fatballs which we had provided for the others. We had quite a lot of sparrows, a couple of wrens, bluetits, ringed necked doves, greatits and a field fare, which I had never seen before, it ate all the apple and so the blackbirds were deprived!!! This too was a great experience. We then had to send our numbers of birds into the RSPB via the internet. There are so many interesting things happening in nature at the moment and so much to be grateful for.” The sisters are part of a project which involves over half a million people.
The RSPB says to all those who took part: “This is how you’ve already helped: For over 30 years, we’ve been asking you to count the birds in your garden – and you’ve been brilliant at it. With over half a million people now regularly taking part, coupled with over 30 years worth of data, Big Garden Birdwatch allows us to monitor trends and helps us understand how birds are doing. As the format of the survey has stayed the same, the scientific data can be compared year-on-year, making your results very valuable to our scientists. With results from so many gardens, we are able to create a ‘snapshot’ of bird numbers across the UK. Let’s take a look at some of the population changes you’ve helped us see. All changes are from 1979 to 2012: Wood pigeons have increased by 800% Starlings have decreased by 80% Robins have suffered a population decline of 32% Two-thirds of house sparrows have been lost. While these changes can seem scary – we’ve lost more than half our house sparrows and some three-quarters of our starlings – it isn’t all doom and gloom. Your results help us spot problems, but more importantly, they are also the first step in putting things right. And this is why it’s so important that we count the garden birds. The more people involved, the more we can learn, so please encourage your family, friends and neighbours to take part and make 2013 the best ever Big Garden Birdwatch!”