RSPB Arne urging residents to join in Big Garden Birdwatch

This weekend it’s the annual RSPB nationwide bird survey and Swanage residents are being invited to record the local birdlife in Swanage and the surrounding area.

Between Friday 29th January and Sunday 31st January 2021, the Big Garden Birdwatch takes place across the UK to help collect data about the state of the nation’s wildlife.


Purbeck attracts a wide ranging number and variety of species of birds due to its rich natural environment, including the RSPB reserve at Arne. 

Participants are invited to pick one hour – at any time of day – during this time frame and count the birds that they see from their living room window. This is something that everyone can do, while staying at home.

Bird on a branch

“Many of us will be in our pj’s”

RSPB Arne said:

“Who’s going to be taking part in the world’s largest wildlife survey!? Thousands of you across the country, all counting the birds that enter your gardens over one weekend! And the best part is you don’t even have to get dressed! Many of us will be in our pj’s with a cup of tea and slice of cake (or two… maybe three) whilst surveying local wildlife, what could be better?!”

To take part in the survey, people need to count the birds they see in their garden or from their balcony for one hour. Participants are asked to ignore any birds that are still in flight and to avoid double-counting, just to record the highest number of each bird species you see at any one time – not a running total.

Bird watchers should then submit their results to the RSPB by Friday 19th February 2021.


Statistics “help us spot problems”

On its website, the RSPB explained further:

“Thanks to people like you taking part in the Big Garden Birdwatch, we now have over 40 years of data and this has helped increase our understanding of the challenges faced by wildlife.

“It was one of the first surveys to identify the decline of song thrushes in gardens. This species was a firm fixture in the top 10 in 1979. But by 2019, those numbers had declined by 76% – coming in at number 20. 

“And did you know that house sparrow sightings have dropped by 53% since the first Birdwatch in 1979? However, in the past 10 years their numbers have grown by 10% showing that we are beginning to see some signs of recovery.

“Results like these help us spot problems. But, more importantly, they are the first step towards putting things right.”

Ben Andrew (RSPB Images)

How to take part

To take part in the survey, you can register on the RSPB website.

Results submitted online should be sent there by February 19th. Alternatively, you can download a submission for and post your results to the RSPB before 15th February.

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