Not strictly for the birds

This weekend, (29-31) January, is the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch 2021. Across the UK, people will be taking part to see the drama and entertainment unfold on their doorsteps and take part in the world’s largest wildlife survey. This is an opportunity to sit with a cuppa, or take a stroll, to enjoy watching the nature you love – but you will also be providing an invaluable annual snapshot on how the birds and animals who visit our gardens and balconies are doing.

Here at The Vale Living, one of our residents has been bird watching from the comfort of their retirement apartment. One of the recent visitors is a jay, a shy, woodland bird, with colourful plumage, part of the crow family. Other sightings include the much-loved robin, already singing to defend their territories – and blackbirds, who will shortly be singing their hearts out to attract a mate as Spring arrives.

Nearby Streatham Common is home to tiny wrens, blue tits and great tits who inhabit the many bird boxes. Crows, magpies, wood pigeons and ring-necked parakeets can also be found here.

Outside of lockdown there are frequent bird walks on Streatham Common and an annual survey of the bird boxes where you can go along and meet fellow twitchers!

Big Garden Birdwatch only takes an hour, during which you count the most birds of each species that you see at any one time. Don’t worry if you don’t know a house sparrow from a starling, the RSPB website has lots of help on identifying birds, how to take part and submit your information (

If twitching is not for you the RSPB website also has a fun quiz plus tips on taking photos of birds.

Which garden bird are you?

Are you a sociable starling or a happy house sparrow? Or maybe a popular robin.

Take the RSPB quiz, find out your bird personality and compare with friends and family.