More than 50,000 Londoners participate in Big Garden Birdwatch!

The world’s largest wildlife survey results show a newfound enthusiasm for local wildlife and how our garden birds are faring over the last year of the pandemic.

The 42nd annual RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch took place during the last weekend of January 2021 and the results now reveal over a million people took part nationally with 53,000 people looking for birds on balconies and in back gardens in Greater London.

More than 17 million birds were counted over that winter weekend and over the first three days of submissions numbers were up 85% compared to the previous year.

The RSPB have been blown away by the response.

Beccy Speight, RSPB CEO said: “Lockdowns have brought few benefits, but the last year has either started or reignited a love of nature for many people, right on their doorsteps.

A YouGov survey revealed the pandemic is making the public more aware of nature in their local area, with 41% seeing wildlife near their homes over the last 12 months that they had never noticed before.  

This survey of 2,071 adults across the UK revealed 63% of people said watching the birds and hearing their song added to their enjoyment of life since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, with more than half of those surveyed (51%) believing the pandemic has made them more aware of the nature around them.

This is something South West Londoner has also noticed before with birdsong and involvement in local wildlife linked to better mental health and a growing popularity of urban birding.

The most commonly seen garden birds in Greater London were listed and the house sparrow was flying high as it kept its top spot with sightings in nearly 43% of Greater London gardens.

London's most seen bird, the house sparrow perched on a branch.
HOUSE SPARROWS: The most seen bird in Greater London during the Big Garden Birdwatch. Credit: Becky Matsubara

The wood pigeon and blue tit joined the house sparrow at the top of the bird table as Londoners enjoyed watching wildlife for a weekend.

However, while this may have been a soaring year for Big Garden Birdwatchers, there are far fewer birds in our skies than before.

Over the last 50 years, 40 million birds have disappeared from the UK and the latest State of Nature report found that around two-fifths of UK species are in decline including turtle doves, red squirrels and water voles.

While Londoners turned to nature for comfort during lockdown restrictions, the RSPB said that nature needs our help like never before.

They have launched their own digital platform Nature on Your Doorstep, which has many resources to help encourage wildlife and biodiversity in your area, no matter the size of your outdoor space or the time you can give.

There are local RSPB groups holding virtual events in Croydon, Richmond & Twickenham and Central London for anyone who would like to get further involved in local wildlife.

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