Itching to get twitching!

Keepers at Dudley Zoo are itching to get twitching – as we prepare to take part in the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch.

Part-time keeper Emma Dingley (pictured) and our Conservation Officer Chris Leeson will spend an hour monitoring wild birds in a section of our 40-acre site as part of the world’s largest garden wildlife survey running from January 26-28.

The pair will be keeping an eye on bird feeders in woodlands at the back of the kangaroo paddock and Senior Primate Keeper Jodie Dryden is also taking part by recording wildlife visiting an area behind the spider monkey enclosure.

Chris said: “We have several feeding stations around the zoo to encourage wild visitors to our site and get a good selection of all-year-round garden birds including blue tits, nuthatches and bullfinches.

“Our winter visitors include bramblings, redwings, fieldfares and waxwings so it will be interesting to see which ones put in an appearance during our big zoo birdwatch.”

The zoo’s findings will be submitted to The Big Garden Birdwatch – now in its 40th year – which invites RSPB members and bird lovers to count birds and other wildlife entering their gardens over a one-hour period.

With more than half a million people now regularly taking part, Big Garden Birdwatch allows the RSPB to monitor trends and create a snapshot of bird numbers across the UK. 

While some changes in numbers can seem scary – the UK has lost more than half its house sparrows and some three-quarters of its starlings – it isn’t all doom and gloom. Since Birdwatch began, blue tit numbers have risen by 20 per cent and the woodpigeon population has increased by a whopping 800 per cent.