How to take part
Photo by Nigel Blake
So, you want to take part in Big Garden Birdwatch? That's really great news as it couldn't be easier to take part in, and your results will really help us.
If you're one of our regulars – welcome back, and thanks for what you're doing. If you're new, keep reading to find out just how easy doing Big Garden Birdwatch is.
When, what, where
All you need is a pen, some scrap paper (or, a printout of our handy bird ID sheet), and an hour to spend watching the birds in your garden, or local park, on either Saturday 28, or Sunday 29 January 2012.
Simply make a note of the highest number of each bird species seen in your garden or park (not flying over it) at any one time, and come back to these pages to tell us what you saw.
You can also ask questions, and share your tips for a brilliant birdwatch on our friendly Big Garden Birdwatch community group.
You can do your birdwatch on your own with a cuppa, your favourite biscuit and your feet up, or try and beat the largest group that took part in 2011: 84 adults and 2 children.
The top 10
Like so many people who enjoy the birds in their garden, sometimes a bird pops in for a visit who you just can't name.
But don't worry.
Below are the top 10 birds as seen during Big Garden Birdwatch 2011.
This list is a great place to start to familiarise yourself with the birds you might see during your birdwatch.
And if you've an iPhone, download our new app - loveBirds - an easy to use bird guide which you can take with you wherever you are.
Photo by The RSPB
The males live up to their name but, confusingly, females are brown often with spots and streaks on their breasts. The bright orange-yellow beak and eye-ring make adult male blackbirds one of the mos... More... Blue tit
A colourful mix of blue, yellow, white and green makes the blue tit one of our most attractive and most recognisable garden visitors. In winter, family flocks join up with other tits as they search fo... More... Chaffinch
The chaffinch is the UK's second commonest breeding bird, and is arguably the most colourful of the UK's finches. Its patterned plumage helps it to blend in when feeding on the ground and it becomes ... More... Collared dove
Collared doves are a pale, pinky-brown grey colour, with a distinctive black neck collar (as the name suggests). They have deep red eyes and reddish feet. Their monotonous cooing will be a familiar so... More... Goldfinch
A highly coloured finch with a bright red face and yellow wing patch. Sociable, often breeding in loose colonies, they have a delightful liquid twittering song and call. Their long fine beaks allow ... More...
The largest UK tit - green and yellow with a striking glossy black head with white cheeks and a distinctive two-syllable song. It is a woodland bird which has readily adapted to man-made habitats to ... More...
Noisy and gregarious, these cheerful exploiters of man's rubbish and wastefulness, have managed to colonise most of the world. The ultimate avian opportunist perhaps. Monitoring suggests a severe decl... More... Robin
The UK's favourite bird - with its bright red breast it is familar throughout the year and especially at Christmas! Males and females look identical, and young birds have no red breast and are spotted... More... Starling
Smaller than blackbirds, with a short tail, pointed head, triangular wings, starlings look black at a distance but when seen closer they are very glossy with a sheen of purples and greens. Their fligh... More...
The UK's largest and commonest pigeon, it is largely grey with a white neck patch and white wing patches, clearly visible in flight. Although shy in the countryside it can be tame and approachable in ... More...