Order your free pack for the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch now

Make fruit and nut kebabs for visiting birds Picture: David Tipling

Make fruit and nut kebabs for visiting birds Picture: David Tipling - Credit: David Tipling

Not sure how to prepare? Want to get out of the house instead? Find out bird feed recipes and events around Suffolk in the RSPB’s comprehensive Big Garden Birdwatch 2019 guide.

Goldfinches are just one of the birds you are likely to see Picture: John Bridges

Goldfinches are just one of the birds you are likely to see Picture: John Bridges - Credit: John Bridges (rspb-images.com)

In 2018, over 9,000 people in Suffolk joined nearly half-a-million people across the UK in the world’s largest garden wildlife survey. This year we are calling on your help again, to count the wildlife in your garden for the 40th RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch.

Between January 26 and 28, 2019, you just need to sit down for an hour with a cup of tea and a slice of cake and watch and record the birds that visit your garden or local green space.

With your help last year, we learnt that house sparrows, starlings and blue tits are the most seen garden birds in Suffolk. By collecting this data year-on-year we can monitor the long-term trends of different species. For example, despite making the top three, since 1979 house sparrows have declined nationally by 57% and starlings by 79%.

It isn’t all bad news though! The average number of goldfinches seen visiting gardens jumped up between 2017 and 2018. These beautiful birds were seen in 39% of Suffolk gardens, and ranked at a respectable number six.

As well as counting birds, we want to know about some of the other wildlife you’ve seen throughout the year, so look out for badgers, foxes, grey squirrels, red squirrels, muntjacs deer, roe deer, frogs and toads.

All of the data you send in from your Big Garden Birdwatch is really important for building a picture of wildlife in gardens throughout the UK, including Suffolk.

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Join us this year at Flatford Wildlife Garden

Come and see which birds are visiting our feeders and to find out how you can take part in the Big Garden Birdwatch with our free event. We will have telescopes and binoculars available for you to look through and plenty of advice to help you attract birds to your garden. There will also be family activities; making bird feeders from acorns stuffed with fat and seeds, as well as others. You can find out more details at the event’s Facebook page.

Get ready: make your own fat balls and cakes

Step 1

You’ll need fat, such as lard or suet, which will set hard when cool. At room temperature it should be soft enough to stir with other ingredients.

Step 2

Pop the fat in a bowl and add a mixture of seeds, nuts, mealworms and other bird-friendly goodies. Stir.

Step 3

Roll the mixture into balls, and place into suitable bird feeders: ones made from a wire mesh which allows hungry birds to peck at the fat are ideal.

Step 4

Alternatively, stuff the mixture into holes in trees, or make a hole in the base of a yogurt pot and thread string through it. Tie a knot inside the yogurt pot to keep the string in place. Fill the pot with the mixture and hang from a tree or bird table!

For your free Big Garden Birdwatch pack, which includes a bird identification chart, plus RSPB shop voucher and advice to help you attract wildlife to your garden, text BIRD to 70030 or go to the Big Garden Birdwatch page online.