The charity will be running free sessions for bird watching novices across all of London’s eight Royal Parks in June and July. Binoculars will be provided, and sessions will last up to two hours.
“Many people growing up in a city will not have had the opportunity, the equipment or the know-how to take up this activity”, explains The Royal Parks’ Biodiversity Manager, Pete Lawrence. “These free sessions aim to make bird watching more accessible, and If they prove popular, we hope to repeat them in future years.”
“There are numerous studies that show that learning about nature is the first step in caring about it and wanting to protect it” adds Lawrence. “Likewise, research shows that immersion in nature is good for people’s mental wellbeing”.
The initiative is part of the charity’s mission to encourage visitors to #KeepWildifeWild, in a bid to help nature thrive. It encourages visitors to observe wildlife in its natural habitat, rather than touching or feeding animals.
Lindo, who grew up in Wembley, has been birdwatching since he was five years old. Now he’s an author, TV naturalist and travels the globe spreading the urban birding word.
He says: “Birding is not just for those who live in the countryside as there is an amazing array of birds to be found in the capital. All you need to do is look up!”
As well as free birdwatching sessions, the charity is encouraging visitors to connect with nature through self-led wildlife trails and nature-inspired events such as Roadshows and Discovery Days.
As well as David Lindo, some of the free bird watching sessions will be delivered by the Royal Parks’ Conservation Officer, Tony Duckett, whose passion for birdwatching spans six decades and local bird enthusiast Julia Holland.
The birdwatching sessions will be delivered as part of The Royal Parks’ new Help Nature Thrive initiative, in particular its adult and family learning programme. All of Help Nature Thrive’s activities for park visitors are free to attend, thanks to the support of players of People’s Postcode Lottery. The Royal Parks has also been running free birdwatching sessions with community group such as Fitzrovia Youth in Action and Mind.
The charity will also be hosting a bird watching photography competition with a top prize of binoculars worth £400. To be in with a chance of winning, entrants need to take a photo of one of the birds included on the parks’ bird spotter sheets and send it to email@example.com or submit via The Royal Parks’ social media channels. Find out more here.
Timetable for the tours
To book a place visit www.royalparks.org.uk/birdingtours
|Monday 20 June||11am-12:30pm||Bushy Park||Tony Duckett|
|Tuesday 21 June||12noon-1:30pm||Bushy Park||Tony Duckett|
|Thursday 23 June||10am-11:30am||The Regent's Park||Tony Duckett|
|Friday 24 June||10am-11:30am||Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park||Tony Duckett|
|Saturday 25 June||10am-11:30am||St. James's Park||David Lindo (The Urban Birder)|
|Saturday 25 June||1:30pm-3pm||Brompton Cemetery||David Lindo (The Urban Birder)|
|Sunday 3 July||10:30am-12noon||Greenwich Park||Julia Holland|
|Sunday 10 July||10am-11:30am||Richmond Park||David Lindo (The Urban Birder)|
|Sunday 10 July||1pm-2:30pm||Richmond Park||David Lindo (The Urban Birder)|