Garden birdwatch for the twitchers

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With many of the UK’s feathered friends in sharp decline, the RSPB wants as many of us as possible to take part in this weekend’s Big Garden Birdwatch.

The event was first held in 1979, and since then experts have been using the results to track the winners and losers in the garden bird world.

In Milton Keynes, Labour Parliamentary Candidate Andrew Pakes is among those taking part in the world’s largest wildlife survey.

“The cold weather is a difficult time for much of our wildlife,” Andrew said.

“I loved growing up in such a green city, but it is not just the plants and trees that make Milton Keynes a great place to live, it is also the wildlife.

“The RSPB and local volunteers do an amazing job keeping tabs on the birds visiting the area.

“I hope other families will sign up as well.”

This year, for the first time in more than three decades, organisers want volunteers to also log some of the other wildlife they see in their gardens – deer, badgers, squirrels, hedgehogs, frogs and toads.

One of the biggest factors in bird numbers visiting gardens during winter is the weather.

“Winter has felt more like autumn for many of us and this could have a significant impact on the number of birds in our gardens.

“The Big Garden Birdwatch will be really interesting this year and will be a good indication of how much the weather affects their behaviour,” explained RSPB conservation director Martin Harper.

“We will be able to compare results to other mild winter years and compare regional trends, so if you don’t see many birds, we still need to know, it’s really useful information.

“The more people that take part, the greater our understanding of the threats and solutions will be,” he added.

Taking part is easy, simply visit for details.