Public invited to count birds in national survey

Observers this year are asked to be especially on the lookout for the hawfinch breed (pictured here)

Members of the public are invited to take part in a national bird counting survey in their gardens, on January 27 and 28.

For the sixth year running, the biodiversity network the LPO and national museum the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle (MNHN) are joining together in the initiative, which seeks to follow bird populations living in proximity with humans, in a bid to understand their condition and to help develop measures to protect the animals.

Everyone can take part, whether from a city or the countryside, a big garden or small yard, or even from a balcony or windowsill. Even a public park counts.

Only a few words of French (to understand the website when submitting your details) and a connection to the internet are needed to add your observations - there is no need to be a bird or nature expert.

Oldiefan / CC0 Creative Commons // Gerrit Vyn / The Cornell Lab of Orthnithology // Dfaulder / CC BY 2.0

[From L to R: Coal tit / Common Redpoll / Lesser Redpoll]

To take part, simply choose one of the days - either January 27 or 28 - and find an observation area in your chosen spot; somewhere you can clearly see outside. Then, take about an hour, ideally late-morning or early-afternoon, and note down any bird breeds you see, and the rough number that appear.

Then, go online to the Observatoire des Oiseaux des Jardins website, add a “garden” (like a profile), and key in your data.

This year, the scheme says it is expecting there to be many birds present, after a disappointing turnout last year.

It is advising observers to be especially on the lookout for the hawfinch breed (known in French as the grosbec casse-noyaux), which is often seen in much of France; as well as the coal tit (mésange noire), the fir crossbill (bec-croisé des sapins) and the common and lesser redpoll (sizerins flammés and cabarets).

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