Sunday, January 27, 2008

Big Garden Birdwatch

Every year the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) holds a two-day birdwatch in which up to 500,000 people spend an hour in their gardens or a nearby park and note the birds they see. You only note the largest number of a species you see at one time - so not 5 robins when it might be the same robin 5 times.

You then send your findings either by post or email to the RSPB and this enables them to plot the numbers of birds by species across the country. This has been going on for 28 years. It's how things like the disappearance of sparrows from gardens came to be noticed so promptly.

Keen birdwatcher Bill Oddie is constantly on our screens showing us the glories of our native wildlife in programmes such as Springwatch and Autumnwatch. He is currently presenting a programme called Bill Oddie's Wild Side, which even features shots from his own rather small and scruffy garden.

In his youth, Bill was one of he Goodies, a TV comedy trio probably only comprehensible to wacky Brits. There he is on the left.

Bill composed the hit Goodies song "The Funky Gibbon".

Now he's a portly grey-haired man in late middle age. His new career has turned him into another of those strange, eccentric National Treasures we love on this side of The Pond.

And the results from my own scruffy garden?
8 starlings
5 sparrows
3 crows
2 blackbirds
2 great tits
2 woodpigeons
1 robin
1 blue tit
1 magpie
1 grey wagtail (that tried to land, but one of my cats lept out. It was lucky to escape unscathed.)

For your enjoyment (?) here's The Funky Gibbon:

And here's Bill on Springwatch 2006 watching millions of starlings wheeling round in a vast flock before coming in to roost. It repays well those who are patient enough to watch it through to the end.

1 comment:

SnarkAngel said...

I can't think of a U.S. equivalent of "The Goodies," but if you could "breed" rock groups, I'd swear they could be a "mix" of The BeeGees meets The Partridge Family. LOL. And I loved the starlings video. He does LOVE his starlings, doesn't he?