Birdwatching tips for the Big Garden Birdwatch

Last updated at 13:53
Blue tits
Blue tits

Wildlife lovers across the UK are being asked to count birds this weekend for the RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch.

The bird charity wants people to spend one hour in their garden, or local park, and record the highest number of each bird spotted at the same time.

Mistle thrush
Mistle thrush numbers are down, according to the RSPB

Don't count the total number of a species over the hour - to avoid including the same bird more than once.

The results can be submitted to the RSPB's Birdwatch website up until 15 February.

How to take part

For example, if the most you see during the hour is three blue tits in your garden at the same time, you'd record that number.

And you're only looking for birds that actually land in your garden, not ones that fly overhead.

Check out the RSPB's website for how to tell which birds are which

The Big Garden Birdwatch is done every year to give a snapshot of how birds are doing in Britain.

A robin

Birdwatching tips

Birdwatching can be enjoyed any time of the year. You don't need any special equipment - just your eyes and ears - but you can use binoculars or a telescope.

It can also be done anywhere - nature reserves, country parks and forests are a few good bets.

Here is some birdwatching advice from the RSPB:

1. Put birds first - don't get too close to birds and don't disturb them or their habitats.

2. Think about your behaviour - respond positively to people if they ask what you're doing, as you may get them interested in birdwatching too!

3. Respect the countryside - check the rules for where you're going and respect the local residents and landowners. Don't go onto private land without permission unless it is open for public access on foot.

4. Record your sightings - you can submit what you see to the BirdTrack website, a project that keeps track of our birds.

5. Rare birds - if you spot a rare bird, be careful about spreading the news too quickly. It could mean loads of visitors flocking to the spot, which might put the bird in danger. Try and tell the landowner or nature reserve warden about it.