red cardinalThis time of year sees organisations in both the USA and UK collecting data from garden bird counts that we can all join in with. GDP folk have been engaging in garden bird counts for years and it is really interesting to monitor the decline and increase of varying bird types. You can find out how to join in with these counts at the RSPB (UK) website here (26th and 27th January 2013) and Audubon Society (USA) here (14th December to 5th January). The data you submit is really helpful to increasing scientific understanding of trends in bird populations.

And don’t worry if you come across this blog post later than these dates because these organisations conduct several bird counts across the year as well as many other activities for the public to join in with.
Bird watching as a family is a rewarding experience, fostering a love of nature and an understanding of the contexts that impact on native populations of birds. Just watching bird behaviour is therapeutic and entertaining. As well as simply attracting birds to you own yard or garden you can also find many bird-watching hides and organised activities even in cities. I remember a sojourn in a dusty city in the Middle East where I constantly watched a pair of hawks atop a water tower nearby.
If you would like to take your bird exploration to more artistic levels you might like our short design course, The Bird Project, which can be taken independently or with tutor support. If you have a tutor you can get extra feedback about your design skills and personalised support and advice.
In this project design students create a set of bird-watching accessories for families. Engaging in the project will, of course, develop your design skills across a range of products from journal pages to C.D. labels to gaming sets. You will investigate bird artists and photographers to see how they have made images of birds. Some of the bird illustrators make stylistic design rather than realistic images, so “not being able to draw” is no excuse for not having a go! The project will also expand your natural history knowledge of birds and introduce you to bird organisations to help you carry on your interests after the project has finished.
This is a project that can be undertaken by groups of students, or by all members of a family working together. We suggest that 14 is a good age for starters who want to work independently, but younger students could attempt this project if helped by an adult.
You can find the project here. If you have any additional questions about this or other projects from GDP please email info@thegraphicdesignproject.com or see our main website at www.thegraphicdesignproject.com.
Happy designing and bird watching.

GDP gull after Tunnicliffe

GDP marshtitGDP Little owl