The rules of the survey are to record the number of individual birds seen over a one hour period in the garden once per month.
I find it difficult to be sure that it is a different individual bird visiting, I think that often it is the same bird returning. So I guess the survey is more a measure of the number of specific garden visits. If a bird moves to the bird table and then to a nearby tree before returning, still in view, I do not count it as a separate visit.
I try to be quite strict with the survey. The bird must be seen in my garden or on a tree or bush planted in my garden, seeing the bird in the neighbours’ garden doesn’t count. Also I must see the bird, just hearing the birdsong doesn’t count.
The benefit of doing a regular survey is that it will be possible to measure changes and also to see the impact of modifications I make to the garden to try and attract more wildlife. It will take some time to build up a useful set of data but I need to start somewhere.
I also upload my result to the site ‘Oiseaux des jardins’ run by the LPO, the French equivalent of the RSPB. They use the information to construct a much bigger picture of bird activity. I think in the UK the RSPB or BTO do something similar.
The monthly survey results will be kept updated in the table below.