Although beds and borders are quiet at this time of year, close your eyes and listen for a moment and a whole different dimension to the garden will open up. Birdsong, well known for cheering people up, is especially noticeable at the moment, as hedges and evergreen trees especially are alive with the sound of birds, both year-round residents and winter migrants who head from colder climates to our (relatively) warmer shores.
Birds in the garden at this time of year are pretty much entirely a Good Thing. If you’ve dug over soil, they’ll happily root through it and gobble up any lingering slug eggs, and who doesn’t smile when a cheery robin follows them round the garden on a cold frosty morning?
However, this year I’m sad…my faithful robin who accompanied me on the allotment last year has vanished. And his disappearing act is not unusual: since 1979 robin sightings in gardens have declined by a shocking 45%. Lots of other bird species are in decline – which is part of the reason the RSPB is conducting its annual Big Garden Birdwatch – hundreds of thousands of people across the country take an hour to count the birds in the garden over the weekend of the 24-25 January.
You can register now and get a free pack and a £5 RSPB Shop discount. So why not take an hour and help the RSPB discover what’s hitting our feathered friends?