We know you’re going to have questions.
And that’s why, here at Birdwatch HQ, we’ve looked at what filled our e-mail inbox in 2012 to find the top 10 most commonly asked questions about Big Garden Birdwatch. Simply click on the question to reveal the answer!
If your question isn’t covered below, simply hop over to our friendly Community group and ask your question on the Big Garden Birdwatch forum. Don’t forget to sign in (it’s free to set up an account) to join the conversation.
By asking you to count the highest number of each bird species you see, rather than totalling them all up over the hour, you’ll eliminate the possibility of counting the same bird on more than one occasion.
That’s why we do it in January! In some ways it’s the best time of the year for watching garden birds, as cold weather brings them into our gardens looking for food and shelter.
The time of day you do your Birdwatch may affect the numbers and variety of birds you see. However, it won’t affect the overall results as any differences in numbers are evened out by the large number of people who take part in our survey.
The weather varies each year and also across the UK during each Big Garden Birdwatch weekend. Because it’s so random, it doesn’t affect the results in the long term.
Don’t worry, it’s really important that you send us your results, no matter what you see. Surveys are as much about what’s missing as what’s there. It’s all really valuable information.
Some people see fewer birds than usual during their hour, but others see more than usual, so it balances out.
What is great about this survey is the amount of people who take part. We’d rather have half a million people watching for an hour, than fewer people watching for two or three hours.
Scientists at RSPB HQ take all your results and create a ‘snapshot’ picture of bird numbers in each region, and, along with previous years’ results, they paint a bigger picture of what’s happening with our UK bird populations.
They tell us whether bird numbers are increasing or decreasing. With half a million people telling us what birds they’ve seen, we get lots of information, making it easier to identify any species that are in trouble – the first step to helping their recovery.
Big Garden Birdwatch is a survey of UK bird species. Results from overseas won’t be accepted as only bird sightings from within the UK can be included in the results.
However, if you live abroad, but happen to be in the UK over the Birdwatch weekend, there’s nothing stopping you taking part and we’d love to receive your results.