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Tips for completing the Wild Bird Banquet survey

Thank you for taking part in the Gardman Wild Bird Banquet, an exciting new project we are running with our partners at the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO). BTO is the UK’s leading bird research charity and has published many scientific studies about garden birds, including studies that highlight the benefits of providing food for them.

In this new experiment, we want to begin to explore just how much difference you can make by changing one small thing in your garden or feeding space. You’ll be helping our birds by providing more food and a greater variety of food and in the process, we’ll be monitoring the difference this makes to the birds and to you.

What you need to do

We need you to do a simple survey of the birds which visit your garden, before you make any changes. If you’ve just bought a new feeder or food, do this survey before you start using your new products.

Watch your garden for at least 15 minutes and write down all of the different bird species you see. Keep a note of the highest number of individual birds you see at any one time during the survey too. Also note down the date, time and weather during your survey.

Make one small change (e.g. adding a bird feeder) and wait at least 24 hours.

Repeat your bird survey.

If you’ve enjoyed the experiment, you can choose to make another change and do a further survey. After you have completed all of your activities, enter your results in the Wild Bird Banquet Survey.

Ten top tips for a successful survey:
1. The ideal time to carry out the bird surveys is in the morning, ideally at least an hour after sunrise. Note down the date, time and weather when you carried out your surveys
2. Choose a comfortable place that provides you with good views over your garden
3. Aim to do your bird surveys for at least 15 minutes
4. During your survey, write down or note all of the bird species which you see visiting your garden, don’t include those which fly over but don’t stop
5. Download our bird identification guide to help you identify any species you don’t recognise
6. Only note down birds you are confident of identifying
7. Print off the bird identification sheet so you can tick off the birds as you see them
8. Note the maximum number of birds visiting at any one time during your survey and record the highest number for the survey
9. When you do your second bird survey, aim to do this at the same time of day and for the same length of time as you did the first bird survey
10. Write or note down the observations you make and when you have completed all of your surveys, enter your results through the Wild Bird Banquet questionnaire.