Eagle-eyed residents of a Dorset care home broke out their binoculars and bird feeders to help track the health of avian visitors in their garden.
The self-proclaimed ‘keen twitchers’ of Colten Care’s Brook View in West Moors were out in force to do their bit for the Big Garden Birdwatch, co-ordinated nationally by the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds).
The annual event encourages people across the country to record the birds they see over an hour on a weekend. The aim is to build up a picture of the presence and health of bird populations.
Armed with tick sheets and pictures of likely species, Brook View residents and team members logged bird sightings from vantage points in the garden, lounge and the comfort of their own bedrooms.
Among the birds they spotted were blue tits, great tits, woodpigeons, goldfinches, blackbirds and robins.
To tempt their visitors to stay for a while, the observers created bird feeders of oranges cut in half and inserted with convenient perching sticks.
After making feeders in the lounge with fellow residents Iona Midlane, Dorothy Parker and Gwen Carter, Paula Marels helped to hang the ‘bait’ in the garden, taking her binoculars with her and watching from a bench.
Paula said: “It was lovely to sit back and watch the birds enjoy the sweet nectar of the fruit.”
Looking on from the comfort of her bedroom, Diana Pearce said: “Paula had a front row seat for the bird spectacle!”
And checking out the action from her window, Pam Roberts said: “Even the cheeky squirrels didn’t put the birds off.”
Companionship Team member Rebecca Grimsey said: “Our residents thoroughly enjoyed taking part in the survey, whether they went into the garden to do it or watched from the lounge or a cosy armchair in their bedroom. We all recognise the importance of looking after wildlife and engaging with nature.”
The final Brook View sightings tally was: 17 blackbirds, two robins, seven woodpigeons, 27 blue tits, 12 chaffinches, 25 goldfinches, two coal tits, 14 house sparrows, 21 magpies and one long-tailed tit.