Get twitching to join in country’s big birdwatch

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YOU might think you have to head into the country in order to feast your eyes on our rich bird life. But you’d be mistaken.

The eagle-eyed among you might already have caught a tantalising glimpse of a kingfisher’s blue and amber plumage as it zips through the early morning mist along the canal, or spotted a kestrel sailing majestically above the railway lines near Leeds city station.

Our urban landscape is home to all manner of birds and this weekend the public can take part in the world’s biggest garden wildlife survey, with the return of the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch.

The annual study gives people the chance to record the number, and variety, of birds that visit their gardens, or local parks, for one hour over the weekend.

Kate Struthers, the RSPB’s people engagement officer for Yorkshire, said: “There’s a lot to see, especially in winter. There are flocks of waxwings which migrate from Scandinavia, which is just amazing.

“You also get red kites passing over Leeds city centre,” she said.

“We were in Middleton Park last week and there was a wide range of birds. There were long tailed tits, blue tits and coal tits. A nuthatch also came out of the woods and we saw a chaffinch and a gold crest, which we were really pleased about.”

She said the best way to attract birds to your garden was to keep feeders well stocked.

“It may take a little bit of time but they will come,” she added. “A friend of mine lives in a city centre flat and she has a tiny bit of trellis on her balcony and has sown some wildflower seeds which will be great for bees and butterflies, too.”

Visit www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch, or call 0300 456 8330.

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