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Can you spare an hour to help the RSPB

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds are appealing to the people of Leicestershire to take part in their annual Big Garden Birdwatch.

Almost 600,000 people across the UK took part last year and between them counted more than nine million birds.  

All people are asked to do is to spend an hour over the weekend of January 26 and 27, recording the highest number of each bird species seen in their

garden or nearest park.  

They then have three weeks to submit their results to the RSPB, either online at www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch or in the post.  

Now in its 34th year, the survey provides the RSPB with an important snapshot of garden bird populations in winter and has helped to highlight some

dramatic declines in UK garden birds.  

In the first survey in 1979, an average of 15 starlings were seen per garden, but that fell to an average of just three starlings per garden in 2012, the lowest

level ever.  

House sparrow numbers have fallen by two thirds over the lifetime of the survey too.

Sarah Houghton, RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch manager, said: "The declines of birds like starlings and sparrows over the last 30 years or so have been

alarming, but Big Garden Birdwatch has helped us find out more about their numbers and distribution across UK gardens, and that has been the first step in

helping to put things right."

People can register to take part at www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch or call the hotline on 0300 456 8330 to receive a FREE Big Garden Birdwatch pack.  

For bird food, bird feeders and accessories visit www.rspbshop.co.uk

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