Who will be top of the garden pecking order?

The house sparrow came out on top in last year's RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch. Picture by Ray Kennedy/RSPB
The house sparrow came out on top in last year's RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch. Picture by Ray Kennedy/RSPB

Who will be top of the pecking order when the RSPB celebrates a special anniversary?

This month is the 40th birthday of the Big Garden Birdwatch, the largest garden wildlife citizen science project.

Hundreds of thousands of people have volunteered their time over the last four decades, providing the RSPB with more than eight million hours of monitoring garden birds.

This year’s Big Garden Birdwatch takes place on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, when people are asked to spend one hour watching and recording the birds in their garden or local green space, then send their results to the RSPB.

More than 2,800 people across Northumberland took part last year.

RSPB chief executive Mike Clarke said: “The survey started as a winter activity for our youth members. It’s now the largest garden wildlife survey in the world and appeals to both children and adults because it’s an enjoyable, easy, inclusive activity that anyone can do, and a great opportunity to connect with nature.”

To take part, watch the birds in your garden or local park for one hour at some point over the three days. Only count the birds that land, not those flying over. Send the RSPB the highest number of each bird species you see at any one time – not the total you see in the hour.

For a free 40th anniversary Big Garden Birdwatch pack, which includes a bird identification chart, plus RSPB shop voucher and advice to help attract wildlife to your garden, text BIRD to 70030 or visit rspb.org.uk/birdwatch

The RSPB is also asking participants to log some of the other wildlife they have seen throughout the year.

Look out for badgers, foxes, grey squirrels, red squirrels, muntjac deer, roe deer, frogs and toads.