No.44 go bird watching

Young visitor at Colby Woodland Garden, Amroth, Pembrokeshire

To be a successful bird watcher, you'll need to be as quiet as a mouse while you keep a look out for our feathered friends. What will you spot?

Here are some tips and tricks for a successful birdwatching experience.

Where will you go?

You don't need to go anywhere special to start your birdwatching, there are birds everywhere; in cities, gardens, parks, rivers, farms, towns, lakes, mountains and near the coast. You could try looking somewhere easy and close to your home first, so maybe your back garden or local park, and then move on to other places if you want to see different birds.

Be as quiet as you can

Birds get frightened off really easily, so you'll need to be as quiet as you can, and not make any loud noises or sudden movements to stand the best chance of spotting lots.

Sit tight and wait

If you've found somewhere you can sit and hide while you wait for birds, then you'll probably be even more successful at spotting them. A lot of birds can be quite shy, but you can help encourage them to visit by leaving out food like nuts and seeds.

What might you spot?

Nearly 600 different types of birds have been spotted in the UK, so you're pretty much guaranteed to see something, from a robin to a magpie, a long tailed tit to a jackdaw or a duck, pheasant or swan.

With so many different birds, you'll probably need a book or website to help you work out what you're seeing. One that's easy to use is the RSPB's bird finder, and you can find the link to it below.

You can make a start by seeing if you know whether the bird you can see is a:

Sea birds - like seagulls, puffins, terns and cormorants.

Garden/hedgrow birds - these are the sort of birds that will come into your garden if you've got food they want to eat. Birds like robins, blue tits, coal tits, magpies, jays, crows, rooks, blackbirds, thrushes, sparrows, and pigeons are all ones that you're likely to spot. You might also get to see goldfinches, long-tailed tits or shy little wrens.

Birds of prey - buzzards, red kites, kestrels. You might be able to pick these out hovering overhead while they look for prey. Kites have distinctive forked tails and kestrels seem to hover without moving over a spot on the ground whilst they hunt.

Game/field birds - such as pheasants and grouse. Male pheasants with their beautiful coloured heads are usually easy to spot on the ground in fields around dusk, or in country lanes. Grouse are smaller, and have brown feathers.

River, canal and lake birds - ducks, swans, dippers, kingfishers, herons - the list goes on. There are lots of beautiful birds that make their home near water. Seeing a kingfisher is a real treat as they're bright blue-y green but they flash past really quickly.

Record what you spot

If the birds are a long way from you, then a pair of binoculars will help you to see them close-up without getting too close. You could also take photos of the birds you see, or draw a picture to remind you what you've seen.

Meet some special birds

If you really want to see lots of interesting or unsual birds when you go out birdwatching, there are special places such as Wildfowl and Wetland Trust sites around the UK that you can visit to go birdwatching. There are also places to meet birds of prey too.