KEEN bird watchers from across the region are being encouraged to help the RSPB monitor the number of wildlife in their area.

The charity has organised the annual Big Garden Birdwatch over the weekend of Saturday, January 26 and Sunday 27.

Almost 600,000 people across the UK took part in last year’s event counted more than nine million birds.

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Joanna Keene, the RSPB’s People Engagement Manager in Northern England, said: “Taking part in the survey is fun and simple. Just spend one hour at any time over the weekend noting down the highest number of each bird species you see in your garden or local park at any one time. You’ve then got three weeks to tell us your results.”

On Friday, January 19 and Saturday 20, staff at RSPB Saltholme, near Billingham, Teesside, will be helping to get local people in the mood by offering visitors handy hints and tips on how to feed and spot birds in their garden. For further information call 01642-546625.

People can register to take part at or call the hotline on 0300 456 8330 to receive a free Big Garden Birdwatch pack.