Birds and wildlife of all shapes and sizes were spotted at 39 Care UK homes across the UK as residents took part in the annual RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch.
This is the third consecutive year that Care UK homes have taken part in the initiative which forms part of the organisation's commitment to activity based care, whereby residents are supported by care teams to maintain links with the local community and to continue doing the things they enjoy.
Residents had their binoculars at the ready and ensured bird feeders were filled for the world’s largest wildlife survey. Care home teams and residents kept a record of the number and types of birds that visited the gardens during a one hour period for the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch.
As part of the activity-filled weekend, residents at Francis Court in Copthorne received a special visit from Huxley’s Bird of Prey Centre. Residents had the chance to get up close with the feathered friends and find out more about the birds.
Residents at Skylark House in Horsham had a busy weekend observing the many birds visiting the garden with the help of local pupils from Holbrook Primary School. Residents and pupils also created tasty treats, including fat balls, to attract more birds to the care home’s garden.
Home manager at Skylark House, Devendra Lallchand, said: “We were delighted to be joined by Holbrook Primary School for the RSPB Garden Birdwatch. Everyone enjoyed creating the tasty treats to tempt local birds into the garden. The residents had a lovely afternoon and enjoyed spending time with the students, counting all of the different birds that came to visit.
“Spending time outdoors allows residents to be at one with nature, which has many benefits for older people, particularly those living with dementia. Residents enjoyed listening to the sound of bird song and watching the different species in the garden. Birdwatching and outdoor activities can also help bring memories to the surface, and can act as a valuable reminiscence activity.”
St. Vincent’s House in Hammersmith welcomed St. Paul’s Primary School pupils to the home to help create bird-friendly habitats, including colourful bird boxes. The residents also had a visit from the Hammersmith Community Garden Association, who offered advice on the best ways to encourage birdlife into the home’s garden.
Kala Dowsett, also known locally as ‘The Owl Lady’, joined Colne View care home in Halstead for the birdwatch. Kala brought in a variety of birds for the residents to look at, and also treated them to an informative talk.
Abney Court care home in Cheadle kicked off a week of nature focused activities with a special visit from a bird and wildlife expert from Stockport RSPB. They provided advice for attracting wildlife into the care home’s garden and top tips ahead of the birdwatching weekend.
Family carers can get advice and support on how to incorporate practical activities such as bird watching into their daily routines by visiting the Care UK website and requesting or downloading a copy of the Good to go guide to help older people enjoy the outdoors.
The RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch has taken place annually over the last 37 years, with the information collected each year helping the RSPB form a picture of bird populations across the country and highlighting any trends or changes.