4 May 2017 – Make Your Garden Count – David Hack

Make your Garden Count” What did you do on the 28th and 29th of Jan 2017.  Well done if you joined in the RSPB’s Great Big Garden Birdwatch?  But, you might consider gathering information about the birds in your garden on a more regularly basis, as advocated by David Hack our speaker in May.

David is a key ambassador for the Suffolk branch of the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) and a renowned speaker on the importance of domestic gardens for wildlife.  He explained that the 15,000 UK members run the Garden Birdwatch (GBW) scheme which is the largest ‘citizen science’ project of its type in the world.  GBW members keep simple records of the birds and other wildlife which visit their gardens.  Records are analysed by BTO scientists and results are published in leading scientific journals.  The data collected is invaluable for wildlife conservation.  Material is often used by TV programmes such as BBC’s Spring Watch.  Using photos and bird song recordings from his own suburban Suffolk garden, David described the rewards of observing many birds ranging from the common blackbird to the rarer siskin.  He provided interesting information about bred populations, particularly those in decline. To this end we can help, because increasing pressure on countryside has led to many bird species using gardens for all or part of the year.  UK gardens comprise around 10% of the total land area.  David said the increasing importance of domestic gardens as a habitat for birds and other forms of wildlife cannot be overemphasised.   According to statistics, between 40% to 50% of British households provide food for birds in their gardens and its big business (approximately £200M pa).  There are many varieties of bird food available but David’s all season favourite are the sunflower hearts.  He suggested that having several small well-made squirrel proof metal feeders dotted around the garden and positioned in unexposed areas close to hedges and bushes would get the best results.

To find out more about Bird Watch, visit http://www.bto.org/ or write to BTO, The nunnery, Thetford, Norfolk, IO24 2PU.  Becoming a member costs £17 and you receive an informative starter pack. Then bearing in mind that quality rather than quantity counts, the time you would spent on the GBW is up to you

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