Order your free pack for the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch now
- Credit: David Tipling
The annual bird watching event is taking place soon. Here the RSPB reveal everything you need to know in Norfolk about the Big Garden Birdwatch.
In 2018, over 10,000 people in Norfolk joined nearly half-a-million people across the UK in the world's largest garden wildlife survey. This year we are calling on your help again, to count the wildlife in your garden for the 40th RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch.
Between January 26 and 28, 2019, you just need to sit down for an hour with a cup of tea and a slice of cake and watch and record the birds that visit your garden or local green space.
With your help last year, we learnt that house sparrows, starlings and blackbirds are the most seen garden birds in Norfolk. By collecting this data year-on-year we can monitor the long-term trends of different species. For example, despite making the top three, since 1979 house sparrows have declined nationally by 57%, starlings by 79%, and blackbirds by 27%.
It isn't all bad news though! The average number of coal tits seen visiting gardens jumped up between 2017 and 2018. These little birds were seen in 32% of Norfolk gardens, and ranked at 14, jumping three places from 2017.
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As well as counting birds, we want to know about some of the other wildlife you've seen throughout the year, so look out for badgers, foxes, grey squirrels, red squirrels, muntjacs deer, roe deer, frogs and toads.
All of the data you send in from your Big Garden Birdwatch is really important for building a picture of wildlife in gardens throughout the UK, including Norfolk.
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Join us this year in Waterloo park
This year, we're pleased to be running a free event in Waterloo park – introducing, the Biggest Birdwatch! Families are welcome to join us as we try and gather the largest group of people in the park for our very own communal birdwatch. There will be family activities running throughout including the opportunity to make your own bird feeders as well as complete our nature detective trails around the park. We'll also be joined by BBC Springwatch presenter and naturalist, Lindsey Chapman. You can find out more details at our Facebook page.
Get ready: make your own fat balls and cakes
You'll need fat, such as lard or suet, which will set hard when cool. At room temperature it should be soft enough to stir with other ingredients.
Pop the fat in a bowl and add a mixture of seeds, nuts, mealworms and other bird-friendly goodies. Stir.
Roll the mixture into balls, and place into suitable bird feeders: ones made from a wire mesh which allows hungry birds to peck at the fat are ideal.
Alternatively, stuff the mixture into holes in trees, or make a hole in the base of a yoghurt pot and thread string through it. Tie a knot inside the yogurt pot to keep the string in place. Fill the pot with the mixture and hang from a tree or bird table!
For your free Big Garden Birdwatch pack, which includes a bird identification chart, plus RSPB shop voucher and advice to help you attract wildlife to your garden, text BIRD to 70030 or go to the birdwatch section of the RSPB website.