Garden Bird Feeding Survey

Bullfinch by John Harding

Existing Garden BirdWatchers can help reveal how the food we provide affects the birds visiting our gardens

For over 40 winters, GBFS has charted dramatic comings and goings at bird feeders. The survey has seen this activity evolve from a small-scale pastime based mainly on the provision of kitchen scraps to a multi-million pound industry. Indeed, it is estimated that around half of UK householders feed birds in their garden providing some 50-60 thousand tonnes of bird food per annum. With increased commercialisation has come a plethora of new bird foods and associated feeding equipment. The GBFS results suggest that these changes have opened the garden gate to many once infrequent garden visitors.

Only a relatively small number of people participate in the GBFS each winter. Gardens are chosen carefully from existing members of the Garden BirdWatch survey, ensuring good coverage across the UK and a roughly even split between rural and suburban gardens.

Participants often stay with the GBFS for a number of winters (some have even spanned the past four decades!) but occasionally people drop out. As and when vacancies become available participants from the larger Garden BirdWatch survey are approached to take their place. Thanks to the dedicated observations of GBFS participants over 40 years of data have now been collected.

Time / skill required

  • Small amount of time required in addition to usual weekly Garden BirdWatch count.
  • Must be a preexisting Garden BirdWatch member, selected to participate. Confident garden bird identification skills.
  • Develop your bird identification skills with our courses and training days.

Related content