The RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 2024

Shutterstock / Erni © A blue tit sitting on a branch with blossom

Thousands of people will be watching and counting the UK’s garden birds over the weekend of January 26-28, 2024 for the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch – and you can join in, too!

Last year, over half a million people took part in the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch, counting 9 million birds – and the charity is hoping to beat these figures in 2024.

This year’s Big Garden Birdwatch takes place on January 26-28, 2024. The charity is asking UK households to spend just one hour watching and recording the birds in their garden, balcony or local park, before sending their results to the RSPB.

45 years and counting!

Two goldfinches on a bird feeder

Goldfinches feeding Pic: Shutterstock

This year marks the 45th Big Garden Birdwatch. Starting in 1979, it has become a much-loved annual event that helps give the RSPB a valuable snapshot of how our garden birds are doing in the UK. In that time, over 172 million birds have been counted and over 11 million hours have been spent watching garden birds.

Beccy Speight, the RSPB’s Chief Executive, said:

“The birds we see in our gardens, from our balconies, and in our parks, are a lively, colourful and endlessly fascinating part of all our lives, offering a real connection to the natural world.

By taking part in the Birdwatch you, and hundreds of thousands like you, play an important role in helping us understand how UK birds are doing.

“With birds now facing so many challenges due to the nature and climate emergency, every count matters. Join us for the Big Garden Birdwatch and together let’s take action to protect and preserve our birds and wildlife for generations to come.”

Why the Birdwatch is so important

A song thrush by a lake

A song thrush by a lake Pic: Shutterstock

Over its four decades, Big Garden Birdwatch has highlighted the winners and losers in the garden bird world. It was first to alert the RSPB to the decline in song thrush numbers, which are down a shocking 81% compared to the first Big Garden Birdwatch in 1979. This species was a firm fixture in the top 10 in 1979, but by 2009, its numbers were less than half those recorded in 1979. It came in at 20 in the rankings last year, seen in just 8% of gardens.

Take part in the Big Garden Birdwatch 2024

To take part in the Big Garden Birdwatch 2024, watch the birds on your balcony, in your garden or in your local green space for one hour at some point over the weekend. Only count the birds that land, not those flying over. Tell us the highest number of each bird species you see at any one time – not the total you see in the hour.

Beccy added, “Whatever you see – one blackbird, twenty sparrows or no birds at all – it all counts. It helps us build that vital overall picture of how our garden birds are faring from one year to the next. With so much challenging our birds now, it’s more important than ever to submit your results. Our garden birds are counting on you!”

See the results of 2023’s Big Garden Birdwatch

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Allison Hay

I joined the "My Weekly" team thirteen years ago and, more recently, "The People's Friend". I love the variety of topics we cover both online and in the magazines. I manage the digital content for the brands, sharing features and information on the website, social media and in our digital newsletters.