This weekend 24-25th Jan was the Big Garden Birdwatch.
According to the RSPB it has now been going for 30 years. It started by asking young birwatchers to count the birds in their garden and has grown into the biggest survey of its kind. Some 3 million BGB hours (380 years!) have been clocked up and 6 million birds spotted. RSPB then literally work out the pecking order! Because the survey is conducted the same way each year, population trends are observed and the RSPB can then target those species more in danger. It's the best wildlife survey in the world.
It's also a great example of how social networking contributes to research and the power of participation. I felt I had taken part in something much bigger. Contribution creating ownership.
I spent a great hour before Church on Sunday morning and saw Magpie, WoodPigeon, Blue Tit, Coal Tit, Robin, House Sparrow, Great Tit, Blackbird, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Long Tailed Tit. And three Grey Squirrels. The highlight was seeing the longtailed Tit and the Woodpecker in the Garden for the first time. And the birdsong was heavenly. Better than Church. Which is maybe why we are told to 'consider the birds of the air' - what John Stott calls 'Orna-theology' !
The results of the survey will be out in March.