Garden Bird Survey

Making a regular survey of the bird activity in the garden is a very powerful tool. It ensures that it is possible to measure changes and I can see the impact of garden modifications on the bird activity. It takes time to build up a useful set of data but the important point is to start and then to keep going.

I also upload my results 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.

I understood that the agreed method was to periodically record everything seen in a given one hour period of observation.

So in this vein I started a month survey in 2020. I quickly understood that it was impossible to record different individual birds, for obvious reasons. So the initial survey was more a measure of the number of specific garden visits. If a bird moved to the bird table and then to a nearby tree before returning, still in view, I did not count it as a separate visit. If it left the garden, and obviously left my view, the next bird to enter the garden, even if it was potentially the same bird, was recorded again.

I tried to be quite strict. 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 initial results following this method are shown below.

After a while I was contacted by a nice man, Christian, from the LPO who was surprised at the number of birds I was counting and uploading as records.

I explained my method of performing the survey, recording the number of times a bird enters the garden during the hour, taking no consideration if these were different individual birds. The very nice man, still Christian, pointed out that I was doing it wrong.

The correct way to make the survey is to record the maximum number of birds seen in the garden simultaneous during the hour of observation. So for example the maximum number of Great Tits seen at the same time, not the number of times a Great Tit entered and left the garden.

Therefore I modified my method, I made the first survey on the new basis on the 11th November 2020 and I will keep adding the results into the table below.

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