Published: 05:53, 22 January 2020
| Updated: 12:23, 31 January 2020
It's one hour out of your time, but it could be crucial in the fight to help our tiny feathered friends.
The UK’s biggest citizen science project , the RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch, has been recording the winners and losers in the garden bird world for more than 40 years with the help of half a million people.
Set to enter its 41st year, the campaign, which runs from Saturday, January 25 to Monday, January 27, monitors vital bird trends.
People across Kent can spend just one hour recording the birds and other wildlife found in their gardens or nearby green spaces.
Both across the country and here in the Kent, house sparrows topped the rankings in the Birdwatch results last year, despite wider national decline. Meanwhile, starlings and blue tits joined house sparrows to form the county’s top three most sighted birds.
A common garden bird thanks to the provision of winter food and nest boxes, blue tits are on the rise across the country, with an 8% increase in the population since 1979. Other birds featuring in the area’s Top 10 were goldfinches, great tits and collared doves.
Allowing the RSPB to monitor bird trends across the country, the data collected during the Big Garden Birdwatch will create a ‘snapshot’ of bird numbers across the country and how they have fared since the project began.
KENT'S TOP 10
Topping the Kent's charts last year were house sparrows, which were seen in 71.5% of gardens at an average of 5.6 per garden, while the starling was second, seen in 51.7% of gardens, an average of 3.6 in each. Coming in at No.3 was the blue tit (an average of 2.5 were seen per garden) while No.4 was the woodpigeon, seen in 78.9% of gardens. No.5 was the blackbird - an average of 2.1 were seen - while No.6 was the collared dove. No.7 was the goldfinch, with No.8 being the great tit, with the magpie at No.9 and robin at No.10.
While the lesser spotted woodpecker is the least common of the three woodpeckers in Britain, it was found in 0.9% of Kent gardens last year. As a bird that is mainly limited to the south of the country, the highest density of population is in the south east, making Kent a likely home for the drumming bird. You can find it in open woods, copses, parkland, gardens and orchards, but it tends to frequent the tops of trees, searching for larvae, spiders and wood-boring insects on smaller branches.
WAYS TO HELP
There's lots of ways to get involved and connect with nature. Providing food like fat balls and crushed peanuts can help birds to build up vital winter fat reserves and boost energy, while meal worms are great for insect eaters such as robins and starlings. Seed mixes are also calorie-rich and at this time of year, a supply of water - that's not frozen - is also essential.
* The RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch runs from Saturday, January 25 to Monday, January 27. Get your free pack, with a bird identification chart at rspb.org.uk/birdwatch
And share your pictures on social media with #BigGardenBirdWatch.
More by this authorAngela Cole