Do you watch birds in your garden?

European Robin
European Robin

Yes? Then, please join our Garden Birdwatch scheme.

Since 2000, the scheme has given hundreds of participants the pleasure of getting to know their garden birds better – and yielded valuable data about the island’s garden birds. It’s a great example of ‘citizen science’.

How much time will it take?

You can dedicate as much or as little time as you want each week, as long as you keep it consistent across the year. You might choose to do 30 minutes every day, a morning every weekend or simply keep an eye open all week. It’s up to you. Of course, you may need to take a break for a week or more if you go away on holiday!

What should I record?

We would like you to record the maximum number of a given species seen at any one time during each week. You do not need to ‘add up’ the number you see in a day or week. For example, if you saw two Blackbirds together on a Monday, one on each of Tuesday and Wednesday, none on Thursday, three on Friday and one on each of Saturday and Sunday, then your count for the week would be simply the three from Friday.

Click to download the December 2016 Garden Birdwatch update
Click to download the December 2016 Garden Birdwatch update
When do I send you my records?

The survey is organised by quarter (i.e. four periods per year). Once you have recorded your observations for the last week in any quarter (i.e. the last week’s column on the form), please return it to Manx BirdLife for us to enter your records into our database.

Before the end of that quarter, we shall send you a new form so that you will be able to continue recording your garden birdwatch observations for the next quarter without interruption.

Do birds flying over my garden count?

Please only record a species as present in your garden if it was using it in some way. You should ignore birds flying high over the garden. However, if you judge flying birds to be using the garden, for example a Sparrowhawk hunting through your garden, it should be included.

How much does it cost to participate?

Taking part in the garden birdwatch is completely free. If you wish to make a donation towards the costs of the scheme, we suggest a nominal annual donation of £5 to cover our costs of postage and printing.

How do I sign up?

To sign up, please email your details (full name and address) to: “enquiries |at|” and state ‘Garden Birdwatch’, or call us on 01624 861130.

We will welcome you to the scheme and send you a simple recording form every quarter. You will also receive a regular garden birdwatch report with an analysis of the latest island-wide data.

Click on the form image above to download the Jul-Sep 2017 Garden Birdwatch reporting form


Want to get started straightaway?

If you wish to get started straightaway, simply download the Garden Birdwatch Form by clicking on the form image (see right).

Under the section ‘Weeks recorded’ near the top of the form, enter the w/c date. Week ‘1’ represents the beginning of a quarter: January, April, July or October. So simply start from the week number most appropriate to the week of the quarter in which you start. (For example, if you start in the third week of a quarter, start from Week 3 and enter the relevant w/c date.)

Once you have completed the final week (12 or 13) of the quarter, please return your form to Manx BirdLife. We shall send you a form for the next quarter so that you can continue recording your garden bird observations. The data you provide will be recorded on our conservation database. Together with observations from many others, it will help us to piece together a detailed picture of the health of the island’s garden bird species.

We look forward to your contribution to this long-running study. Thank you.

A thank you to our sponsor

Manx Ornithological Society

Since 2016, the Garden Birdwatch scheme has been kindly sponsored by the Manx Ornithological Society (MOS).

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