Free Garden BirdWatch during lockdown

Stay connected to nature, learn about your garden wildlife and contribute to important scientific research without leaving your home. We're giving everyone free access to BTO Garden BirdWatch (GBW), a national-scale citizen project, during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Goldfinch. Anthony Brown@adobestock

During the lockdown, many of us are looking to our gardens to enjoy nature and be outdoors, to learn, and to improve our well-being. BTO Garden BirdWatch offers a great opportunity to learn more about garden birds and other wildlife, and to contribute directly to BTO’s important scientific research on the value of gardens for wildlife. The more we know about how wildlife uses our gardens, the more we can make our cities, towns, villages and individual gardens better for nature.

The survey involves simply keeping a list of the birds you see visiting your garden over the course of a week, and then entering this into our online recording system. If you want, you can also record other garden wildlife, such as butterflies and mammals. You can spend as much or little time as you like recording, as long as you are consistent each time. Find out more about how to record for Garden BirdWatch.

...feel part of a community all working on the same project, even though all of us are confined to our own gardens.  

GBW is normally run as a membership, with an annual fee of £17, and normally includes a book and a quarterly magazine. The generous financial support of participants is what allows us to carry out our work monitoring garden wildlife.

However, we want to enable more people to get involved in garden wildlife recording under the current circumstances, to discover an enjoyable purpose in garden birdwatching, and to feel part of a community all working on the same project, even though all of us are confined to our own gardens. Therefore we are offering membership of BTO Garden BirdWatch for free during the COVID-19 lockdown.

The free membership does not include the book or magazines, and will instead be online only, including:

  • Access to our online recording system
  • Our regular e-newsletter with information identifying garden wildlife
  • Access to our team of wildlife experts to answer your questions

The free membership will be valid for one year, after which it will expire or you can choose to renew.

While we are offering Garden BirdWatch free of charge at this exceptional time, running the survey and carrying out our scientific research still has associated costs, and the BTO as a whole is sustained by charitable donations. We are therefore asking if you would be prepared to make a donation, if you can, which will allow us to continue with our important wildlife monitoring and research.

The same offer of a year’s free subscription (without a magazine) will apply to existing Garden BirdWatchers whose annual renewal falls in the period while we are all confined to our homes, since we recognise that many people will be suffering financial uncertainty.

Join GBW for free

We hope that this offer will help you to find new meaning in your garden birdwatching, and to play a part in national research into our garden wildlife.

New to BTO? Register your account before GBW sign-up

Already have a BTO account? sign-up to GBW via My BTO

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