How to take part

These are the instructions given to our participants:

The aim of the Big Garden Weigh-in was to gather information on the birds using gardens and the resources that they provide. This means that you should only count those birds actually using resources within your garden - these could include birds feeding on your bird table, seen sitting in your trees or nesting on your house. Do not include those birds that are simply flying over your garden on their way somewhere else, or seen outside of your garden's boundary.

Where to record

Start by defining your recording area. For most people this is their whole garden but for some it might be just their back garden or (if they are fortunate enough to have a large garden) just that part of it that can be seen easily from the house.

When to record

We would like you to keep a count of the birds using your garden during a single hour (ideally sometime between 6am and 10am). Although the survey was aimed at one day between 31st May and 5th June, inclusive, it has proved so popular that we have left it open and it will now run through until the end of June.

What to record

We are interested in the structure of the core avian community in your garden, so we need counts for each of the 60 species shown on our recording form (species list and paper recording form available here). Do not make counts for species not on this list. For each species, please record the maximum number of individuals that you see together in your garden at any one time during the one-hour recording period. If you see two Blue Tits together at the start of the hour, three together part way through and five together towards the end, then your count for the hour is 'five'.

Even if you know that more than one individual of a particular species is visiting your garden (perhaps because you are visited by one male Blackbird on its own and later one female on her own), the count recorded should be 'one'. This is because not all species can be aged or sexed effectively and while one recorder might be able to separate the male and female of a particular species, another may not.



here (PDF, 120.82 KB)
to download instructions and a paper recording sheet (PDF, 128kb)

Access some frequently-asked questions

The Survey Pages are now closed

Related content