Counting birds with RSPB Arne

THE Big Garden Bird Watch, organised by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds is the world’s largest wildlife survey. This year it takes place over the weekend of Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th January, and there is an invitation to join staff and volunteers at the RSPB’s Arne reserve on Poole Harbour to learn more and find out how to make the most of your bird watching.

The Big Garden Bird Watch involves participants – in their own gardens or local parks – taking an hour to count bird numbers in their garden or local green space.

On Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th January from 11am to 2.30pm, RSPB Arne will be equipping people with the skills they need to create a bird haven in their gardens, from tips on attracting birds, through to preventing the spread of disease and the chance to take away free mini samples of bird food. Participants can also stay and carry out their survey on the reserve.

Eleanor Sunderland, the RSPB Arne visitor experience manager, says: “The purpose of the Big Garden Birdwatch is to record local sightings of birds and other wildlife so that we can get a snapshot of how garden wildlife is doing on a national scale. At RSPB Arne the shop team will be on hand to help people prepare for the Big Garden Birdwatch.

“Every count is important, even if you don’t see anything. Observing which birds aren’t around is as important as seeing the ones that are. With over half a million people now regularly taking part, Big Garden Birdwatch allows us to monitor trends and helps us understand how birds are doing. Your results help us spot problems, but more importantly, it’s also the first step in putting things right.”

Pictured: Blue Tit; photograph by Louise Greenhorn (