Keeping an eye on their friends

Residents at the Old Rectory Residential Home in Bempton joining in the RSPB Bird Watch'PA1104-11'Edith Gauk-Roger, Margaret Pool, Iris Lambeth, Robert Graham, Mark Smales
Residents at the Old Rectory Residential Home in Bempton joining in the RSPB Bird Watch'PA1104-11'Edith Gauk-Roger, Margaret Pool, Iris Lambeth, Robert Graham, Mark Smales

WATCHING birds in the garden at a village residential home took on a new significance at the weekend.

The dozen or so elderly people living at The Old Rectory based in the former vicarage in Bempton had their eyes peeled and pen and paper at the ready as they joined the RSPB’s national Big Garden Birdwatch.

Some of the residents are already keen birdwatchers and had already spotted up to as many as 20 different varieties of feathered friends putting down in the vicarage garden. One of them, Jean Pollard, who has lived at Bempton Rector for more than three years has logged around 16 different species, among them the wagtail, starling, magpie, robin, jackdaw, sparrow and more.

Richard Hunter, owner of the residential home, said he got in touch with the nearby RSPB reserve at Bempton Cliffs to get residents involved in this year’s Big Garden Birdwatch.

“As a lot of our residents like looking out on to the garden and watching birds we thought it was a good opportunity to get them involved with the bird count.

The information is used to monitor bird numbers in our area,” said Mr Hunter.

Dawn McKie, responsible for visitor information and membership at Bempton RSPB reserve said they were helping the residents by providing bird feed and feeders to encourage birds into the garden.

“We are hoping to be able to establish stronger links with the Old Rectory in the future,” she said.

The residents had to spend an hour watching birds in the garden on Saturday or Sunday and record the highest number of each bird species they saw.

The RSPB has been asking supporters to count birds in their gardens for more than 30 years. The results have helped them create a snapshot of bird numbers in each region.

According to their figures more than half of house sparrows and three quarters of starlings have been lost. The surveys are the first step to helping aid their recovery.