We don't know about you, but one of the noises we just love to hear is the sound of birdsong. Even if it is the Dawn Chorus, waking us up from our peaceful slumbers...! Our feathered friends help give shape to the routine of the day, and anyone doubting their ability to communicate with each other has never witnessed them excitedly telling their chums about the latest ripe crop of fruit in the orchard, or sitting up a tree telling their nest-mates about where the neighbourhood cat happens to be. Yes, both of those have happened to us personally. Although the one that made us laugh the most was a bird sitting very high up in a tree chuckling to itself that aforesaid neighbourhood cat couldn't climb as high.
We love to watch the birds through the changing seasons too. So we love to hear about projects you can do in your own back garden, or the local park, or anywhere where birds congregate, to help keep an eye on what's happening in the world of birds. In January 2019, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) ran their annual survey, and yes, you guessed it, it's almost time for it to happen again.
In 2019, the house sparrow was the bird that was spotted most frequently, closely followed by the starling, blue tit, and blackbird. (Did you know that male blackbirds are the ones with the dark feathers and the bright yellow beak? Females are usually dark brown, with a duller yellow beak. We're wondering if it'll be the same top three this year, or whether different birds will take the top spots.
The survey has been taking place for 41 years: it started in 1979. It isn't just birds that you're asked to keep an eye out for, either: eagle-eyed observers also spotted squirrels, frogs, foxes, hedgehogs, frogs, and toads. We've seen four of the six creatures mentioned in our garden. At least, we think it was frogs we saw, not toads. We didn't get close enough to check before they'd hopped off... And we're still hoping for a hedgehog...
If you'd like to take part, then you can get more details at https://www.rspb.org.uk/get-involved/activities/birdwatch/. It's taking place from 25 January to 27 January 2020, it's free, and fun for all the family, or a whole class or group. There's even a fun quiz online to find out what kind of garden bird you are – see https://www.rspb.org.uk/get-involved/activities/birdwatch/which-garden-bird-are-you/#which-garden-bird-are-you. In case you're wondering, we came out as a robin. Which fits very well with the visitors we see in our little garden all year round. They're cheeky little things, but very endearing and amusing. So we're getting ready for 2020's event, with our trusty British Birds Field Guide in hand. We're also big into diaries this year, so the British Birds Diary is going to be open for the rest of the year. We just need to remember to actually record things in it now.... Wish us luck!