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. If you join as a result of the Covid 19 offer you can only enter your results online. Those who joined before the free membership was offered can complete paper forms.

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

Under the Covid 19 offer you will receive a year’s free membership, access to the GBW online recording system, a regular newsletter with information on recording and identifying garden wildlife plus access to the BTO’S team of wildlife experts, to answer your questions.

How do I get involved?

You join Garden BirdWatch if you wish to participate in this survey. Click here to do so

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