Watch the birdies - and help research

TWITCHERS are being urged to don their binoculars and take part in a major survey.

The RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch takes place next weekend and everyone is being asked to take part.

Now in its 37th year, the Big Garden Birdwatch helps to provide information about the changes in numbers of birds using our gardens in winter and create a picture of how our garden wildlife is doing.

Half a million people across the UK are expected to take part this year.

On January 30 and January 31, people are being asked to count the birds in their gardens or local parks for one hour.

Participants are also being asked to log some of the other wildlife, including badgers, hedgehogs and red squirrels.

To register to take part in Big Garden Birdwatch 2016 and request a pack, visit 

Daniel Hayhow, RSPB conservation scientist, said: “Last year’s survey saw more than eight-and-a-half million birds spotted nationally, making it another great year for participation.

“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 results very valuable. With results from so many gardens, we are able to create a snapshot of bird numbers across the UK.

“Once we know which birds are in trouble, together we can ensure that our garden wildlife will be around forever.”

In last year’s event the top bird spotted was the House Sparrow, closely followed by Blackbird and Starling.