BirdLife invites all nature enthusiasts to count for an hour around their homes the birds that chirp during the “Birds of our gardens” action.
Do you like watching blackbirds, titmouses and other sparrows chirping in your bushes and shrubs? Then BirdLife Switzerland’s “Birds from our gardens” action is for you. From May 4 to 8, it invites all nature enthusiasts to count all the birds that frolic near their homes.
Stated objective of the organization which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year: to break the participation record of 2020. That year, with the Covid pandemic, 7072 people, families and classes had taken part. They had managed to count more than 220,000 birds.
Last year, 4,500 people, families and school classes observed 136,242 birds of 163 different species. The most widespread bird was the house sparrow, observed in 76% of the gardens, ahead of the blackbird and the carrion crow (74% each). Next came the great tit (69%) and the magpie (62%).
During one hour
To play the game, all you have to do is sit between May 4 and 8 for an hour in your garden, on your balcony, at your window or in a nearby park and count all the birds spotted or heard. Because hearing also counts, says BirdLife. Indeed, if you know how to recognize the cry of a great spotted woodpecker or the fluty song of a warbler, you can also include it in your observations.
It is also better to count in the morning because the birds are more active, recommends BirdLife. The observations made can then be announced until May 8 at 7 p.m. via a form to be downloaded from birdlife.ch/oiseaujardins. The organization will then analyze the data and inform the participants of the results.
This census has no real scientific value. Its main purpose is to raise awareness of the importance of creating bird-friendly gardens, explains BirdLife. While diverse gardens harbor an average of 11.4 species, unnatural gardens harbor only 7.2 species, she explains. The organization thus offers on its site instructions for planting a hedge favorable to birds or setting up a lean meadow for insects.
A sharp decline since 2014
Since 2014, we have seen that the vast majority of species are less and less visible in gardens. Sighting numbers for blackbirds (formerly seen in around 90% of gardens, compared to 74% today) or greenfinches (formerly 30%, compared to only 17% nowadays) have particularly dropped. The great tit, the blue tit and the chaffinch are also seen less often.