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The RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch is back – here’s how to take part

The RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch takes place on January 27-29 (Pictures: Getty)

Calling all budding birdwatchers and avid twitchers – the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch returns from Friday, January 27 to Sunday, January 29.

The charity invites everyone across the UK to take part in its annual bird survey by spending an hour outside – whether in the garden, a park, from a balcony, anywhere – counting how many birds they see, and sending them results.

Worried you don’t know your sparrows from your swallows? Don’t worry, the RSPB provides a free guide to common UK birds to help with identification – you can download it here in English and Welsh.

The Big Garden Birdwatch, billed by the RSPB as the world’s biggest wildlife survey, is now in its 44th year.

Over four decades it has provided a snapshot of the country’s big population, including rapid declines for species including the song thrush – sightings are down 81% from the first survey in 1979.

Greenfinch sightings have dropped 63% since 1993 following an outbreak of trichomonosis, a disease that causes problems swallowing food.

It’s not all bad news however – in 2022 blue jay sightings were up 73% compared to the previous year, moving them nine places up to 23.

House sparrows retained their crown as the most commonly-spotted species, with more than 1.7million recorded sightings. Blue tits and starlings claimed second and third.

In total more than 11million birds were counted last year by almost 700,000 people. To take part this year, sign up here.

Click here for the RSPB’s full bird A-Z.

How to take part in the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch

1. Count the birds you see in your garden, from your balcony or in your local park for one hour between Friday, January 27 and Sunday, January 29. 

2. Only include birds that land, not those flying over. Count the highest number of each species you see at any one time, otherwise you could count the same bird twice. For example, if you saw a group of four starlings, and towards the end of the hour you saw two starlings together, please record four as your final count. 

3. Tell the RSPB what you saw here, or complete and send the print-from-home form above. Whatever you saw – even if nothing at all – please let them know. The more people who submit their findings, the better picture they will have of how garden birds are faring. 

The 2022 top 10

House sparrow

1. House sparrow (male) (Picture: Getty)

Two blue tits

2. Blue tit (male and female are similar) (Picture: Getty)


3. Starling (male) (Picture: Getty)

Wood Pigeon

4. Wood pigeon (male and female are similar) (Picture: Getty)


5. Blackbird (male) (Picture: Getty)

Share your photos

Snapped a starling or pictured a parakeet? Share your photos and we’ll publish the best in our birdwatching gallery.

Click here to submit


6. Robin (male and female are similar) (Picture: Ken Jack/Getty)


7. Goldfinch (male and female are similar) (Picture: Frank Hoensch/Getty)

Great tit

8. Great tit (male and female are similar) (Picture: Getty)


9. Magpie (male and female are similar) (Picture: Getty)

Common chaffinch

10. Chaffinch (male) (Picture: Getty)

MORE : Jay birds resist instant gratification for delayed tastier treat, finds study

MORE : Nature Calls: Lying in wait to see tens of thousands of birds soar in formation

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