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People across Stamford, Rutland and Bourne send bird photos ahead of RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch this weekend

Many across the area will be taking part in the RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch, which runs from today (Friday, January 29) until Sunday.

The UK’s biggest citizen science project has been monitoring bird trenders for more than 40 years. People are asked to give just an hour of the time recording the birds that land, as seen from the windows, balconies or gardens and submitting their results.

More than 7,000 people took part last year in Lincolnshire and with people at home due to the lockdown, more are expected to take part this year.

House sparrows topped the rankings in the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch results last year, despite wider national decline. Meanwhile, blackbirds and starlings joined house sparrows to form the top three most sighted birds in Lincolnshire.

A common garden bird thanks to the provision of winter food and nest boxes, blue tits are on the rise across the country, with an 8 per cent increase in the population since 1979. Other birds featuring in the Lincolnshire “top 10” were goldfinches, starlings and chaffinches.

Beccy Speight, the RSPB’s Chief Executive, said: “We know that for many people, garden birds provide an important connection to the wider world and bring enormous joy. Lockdown brought few benefits, but the last year has either started or reignited a love of nature for many people. There has been a broad and much needed realisation that nature is an important and necessary part of our lives especially for our mental health and wellbeing. But nature needs us too.

“By taking part in the Birdwatch, you are helping to build an annual snapshot of how our birdlife is doing across the UK. It is only by us understanding how our wildlife is faring that we can protect it. We know that nature is in crisis but together, we can take action to solve the problems facing nature.”

Ian Misselbrook lives in Rippingale and is a nature enthusiast. He says one of the benefits of living here during a lockdown is "our proximity to a variety of different habitats, each rich in wildlife; even in winter".

As well as taking part in the birdwatch, he urged people to make use of their right to exercise in nearby farmland, fenlake, dykes and woodlands.

He said particular species to look out for locally were short-eared owls, which hunt on local fens and area of rough grass.

The stonechat is also a visitor to this area in winter in farmland. He advised: "Look out for them on prominent perches such as the tops of low bushes or fence posts from which they will sally forth to pick up insects, spiders and worms on the ground."

He said roe deer, fallow deer and muntjac deer can all be found in local woodlands, especially at first daylight and in smaller woods in the countryside.

He added: "Don’t let the current restrictions prevent you from enjoying our lovely countryside and abundant wildlife."

  • It's not too late to get involved in the birdwatch - all the details you need are at: rspb.org.uk/birdwatch where there are also tips on how to attract birds to your garden.

Ahead of the Big Garden Birdwatch, we invited readers to submit photos of birds they'd spotted in their gardens or out on lockdown walks and here are a selection. Send your bird photos from the Birdwatch to: smeditor@stamfordmercury.co.uk

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