Spend an hour counting the birds in your garden - its Birdwatch weekend

Dunnock. Picture: Ray Kennedy rspb-images.com

Dunnock. Picture: Ray Kennedy rspb-images.com

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The RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch takes place once again this weekend.

This year the event, organised by the charity based in Sandy, has been extended to include Monday, making it a long weekend and giving people more opportunity to spend an hour counting the birds in their garden.

The birdwatch also has a serious scientific purpose as over the last 37 years it has provided a snapshot of how the birds and other wildlife using our gardens are doing.

More than 70,000 people in Eastern England took part last in year’s birdwatch, which this year starts on Saturday, January 28.

Numbers of familiar birds like starlings and song thrushes fell again last year. Despite being ranked number two in the table, the number of starlings visiting people’s gardens has fallen by 70 per cent since the first Birdwatch in 1979, and less than half of us saw them in our gardens in East Anglia during the 2016 Birdwatch.

The house sparrow remained top of the rankings in Eastern England in 2016 - but will it hold onto its crown this year? Enjoy an hour watching the birds in your garden.

Go online and register to take part, plus download you Big Garden Birdwatch pack from the website at rspb.org.uk/birdwatch