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Share your garden bird sightings to contribute to a national survey. Here’s how…

This spring we have spent a lot of our time in our homes and gardens and so, by now, we may also be familiar with the regular wild visitors. Chances are you’ve been taking pleasure in putting seed onto a bird table and watching the different birds arriving through the day. Perhaps it has piqued your interest to know more about the familiar and unusual birds that you might have seen. If that’s the case, why not contribute to an ongoing survey on garden birds?

Each week, all year round, for the past 25 years, ‘citizen scientists’ have recorded the birds and other wildlife visiting their gardens, enabling researchers at the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) to answer important questions about garden wildlife.

The BTO Garden BirdWatch offers an opportunity to learn more about garden birds and other wildlife while contributing directly to BTO’s important scientific research on the value of gardens for wildlife. The organisation say: “The more we know about how wildlife uses our gardens, the more we can make our cities, towns, villages and individual gardens better for nature.”

The survey involves simply keeping a list of the birds you see visiting your garden over the course of a week, and then entering this into the BTO’s online recording system. You can also record other garden wildlife, such as butterflies and mammals.


The Garden BirdWatch is normally run as a membership, with an annual fee of £17, that entitles you to a helpful book and regular magazines. The generous financial support of participants is what allows BTO to carry out its work monitoring garden wildlife and its scientific research. Membership also entitles you to access to the online recording system, a regular e-newsletter with information on recording and identifying garden wildlife, as well as access to the BTO’s team of wildlife experts, to answer your questions.

Kate Risely, Garden BirdWatch Organiser at the BTO says: “A connection to nature is so important to our well-being, and the easiest place to watch and learn about wildlife is in our own gardens. We hope that this opportunity to join the Garden BirdWatch community will help people across the UK find new meaning in their garden birdwatching, to learn new things and to play a part in national research into our garden wildlife.” To take part in Garden BirdWatch, visit the website

The BTO is the UK’s leading bird research charity. A growing membership and up to 60,000 volunteer birdwatchers contribute to the organisation’s surveys, collecting information that underpins conservation action in the UK. The BTO’s work is funded by supporters, government trusts, industry and conservation organisations. At its offices in Suffolk, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, staff analyse and publicise the results of surveys and projects.

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