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[12 JAN 99] RSPB PRESS RELEASE
Join In The Big Garden Birdwatch

30 AND 31 JANUARY 1999

Which bird will be the UK's number one feathered friend in gardens this winter? Families throughout West Midlands are invited to take part in what could be the biggest bird-count of its kind.

The Big Garden Birdwatch, run by the YOC, the RSPB's junior membership, and supported by Tesco Stores, takes place over the weekend of 30 an 31 January. Thousands of people, young and old alike, can help the RSPB to find out which are the most commonly occurring garden birds, by counting the birds in their gardens or local parks for just one hour over the weekend. Starlings usually rule the roost, but will they do so this time round?

This annual survey, now in its 20th year, provides really useful information about which birds are doing well, and which are becoming less common. It was one of the first surveys to show a fall in the number of song thrushes in gardens. Now we know that since the early 1970's, the population of song thrushes has fallen by 50%. It is vital that surveys such as the Big Garden Birdwatch continue to identify similar trends so that organisations like the RSPB can take action to help vanishing birds.

Rachel Sharp, RSPB Youth and Education Officer, says:

"The Big Garden Birdwatch is great fun, and everyone can join in. If you don't have a garden, ask friends if you can survey theirs, or even survey a local park. The whole family can get involved, and it is a good way to learn more about the birds visiting our gardens, and also help us to highlight changes in garden bird numbers."

To take part, simply watch your garden or local park for one hour over the weekend of January 30 and 31, and record the highest number of each species of bird seen at any one time. Birds that land on the ground or in trees and bushes should be counted, but not those flying overhead.

To obtain an entry form plus a free booklet of jokes, games and puzzles, and information about the YOC, send a postcard with your name, address (and age if under 18) to:

YOC, Big Garden Birdwatch 1999, Dept BGB, The Lodge, Sandy, Bedfordshire, SG19 2DL.

There are ten bird identification guides to be won by the first ten entrants to have their names drawn out of the hat.

NOTES

1.Completed entry forms should be sent to: YOC, Big Garden Birdwatch 1999, The Lodge, Sandy, Bedfordshire, SG19 2DL, by 15 February 1999.

2.The YOC is the junior section of the RSPB with over 150,000 members. The club aims to encourage a greater commitment to nature conservation in young people.

3.This year Tesco is supporting the Big Garden Birdwatch at a number of stores, where staff will be giving out entry forms, along with leaflets with tips on how to attract birds to your garden. In the event of the store not having any, entry forms can be obtained by post from the RSPB.

4.Tesco is currently the UK Champion for the Skylark Action Plan, part of the UK Government's contribution to conserving biodiversity.

More Informationt:
Rachel Sharp, Regional RSPB Youth and Education Officer (01295) 253330
Alasdair Bright, RSPB Press Officer (01767) 681577 / 680551
Helen Tate, Regional RSPB Public Affairs Officer  (01295) 253330

   

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CWN / Environment / RSPB / Press Releases / 12 Jan 99

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