Garden Birdwatch

An Ongoing Annual Survey

What it does

Garden BirdWatch (GBW) is all about getting involved and making a difference by collecting simple information on the birds and other wildlife using your garden. This information enables researchers at BTO HQ to monitor the changing fortunes of garden wildlife.

This survey has some similarities to the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch which takes place in January but this scheme runs all year and you can record almost all species you see in your garden such as butterflies, bees, reptiles and mammals.

You do need to be a member of the GBW Scheme in order to participate. You can complete paper forms or enter your results online.

Long Tailed Tit, Edmund Fellowes / BTO

More information on why this survey is being run

Garden Birdwatch monitors the changing fortunes of birds and other garden wildlife through its network of ‘citizen scientists’. Observations collected by BTO Garden BirdWatchers’ data are analysed by BTO researchers and published in leading journals. BTO Garden BirdWatchers have charted the decline of the House Sparrow, the rise of the Woodpigeon, discovered that urban birds get up later than their rural counterparts and have alerted conservationists to the impact of an emerging disease in Greenfinches.

What the survey involves

Participants define a recording area, sometimes their whole garden or, in larger gardens, a part of the garden that can be easily monitored. Participants then record the birds and other wildlife using this area in a systematic way. Since a key aim of Garden BirdWatch is to get a relative measure of change in garden use, participants are asked to spend a similar amount of time recording each week. Some choose to watch their garden for an hour on a Sunday morning, while others spend half an hour each day throughout the week. Consistency from week to week for individual observers is important.

What you get if you join

There is an annual subscription to pay but, if you join, you will receive four copies of Bird Table (the quarterly magazine), be able to access GBW Online (your very own web-based notebook for recording your garden wildlife), have easy access to your own data displayed as tables or graphs, and get expert advice from the BTO to help you identify, understand and look after the wildlife in your garden.

How do I get involved?

You join Garden Birdwatch if you wish to participate in this survey.

The link is at

We now have a Surrey GBW Ambassador (Peter Almond) who gives talks on Gardening for Wildlife. If you would like to contact Peter please email