How to record

The Garden BirdWatch project is designed to help us promote effective conservation action by increasing our understanding of how wild birds use different resources at different times of year and of how their numbers are changing.

Participants define a recording area, typically their whole garden but in larger gardens this may just be that part of the garden that can be easily watched. They then record the birds and other wildlife using this area in a systematic way. Since a key aim of Garden BirdWatch is to get a relative measure of change in garden use, participants are asked to spend a similar amount of time recording each week. Some choose to watch their garden for an hour on a Sunday morning, while other spend half an hour each day throughout the week. Differences between observers can be controlled for when we come to analyse the observations but consistency from week to week for individual observers is important.

Each garden is given a unique GARDEN BIRDWATCH NUMBER (written at the top of the introductory letter or supplied when you join online through the BTO Online Surveys System. Please include this number  in all routine correspondence and it is vital that this Garden BirdWatch number is recorded on any paper forms you send in.

This section of the website provides guidance on how to participate in Garden BirdWatch and how to make your weekly counts and send in your recording forms.