Take part in the 2020 Big Garden Birdwatch (25 – 27 January).

Many of our much-loved garden birds are still in decline. Last year's Big Garden Birdwatch revealed that 15 of the top 20 species - such as wrens, long-tailed tits and song thrushes - returned fewer sightings than in 2018.

This year the RSPB is urging all of us to take part in their Big Garden Birdwatch, making it bigger than ever. “Our garden birds should be a part of our everyday life. For many people they provide our only connection to the natural world and bring enormous joy," says Martin Harper, the RSPB’s Director of Conservation. Results from the birdwatch will help us understand how different species are coping with issues such as weather patterns, habitat degradation and pesticides.

Organic growers know that birds are an important part of the wildlife in the garden. Did you know a family of blue tits can eat 100,000 aphids a year. If you want to take part in the 2020 BGB, see here.
Feed the birds .....
In these winter months, be sure to put out some food and fresh water for the birds. Here is the current guidance from the BTO (British Trust for Ornithology) to keep your bird feeder, and its visitors, healthy:

Feed stations
• Use several feeding sites if possible. The risk of disease transmission is related to the numbers of birds congregating together in one place.
• It also helps if you move your feeding sites periodically, especially those where you feed directly onto the ground.
• Avoid placing a bird table under a tree in which birds perch or roost, since it soon becomes heavily contaminated with droppings.

Keep things clean
• Ideally, bird tables should be swept clean each day to remove droppings and any uneaten food. Regular cleaning of bird tables, bird baths and hanging feeders is an important part of good hygiene practice when feeding garden birds.
• Don’t provide provide more food than birds need each day.
• Disinfect tables and other feeding surfaces regularly (weekly or fortnightly), using an appropriate disinfectant, followed by thorough rinsing and air drying before subsequent use.
• The ground beneath feeders should also be kept clean by regular sweeping.
You can download the RSPB birdwatching pack here.