Residents at a dementia care home in Wellington, Somerset have been enjoying the great outdoors despite the cold weather by watching birds through the windows of their home and taking part in bird-related activities.

The project was sparked when staff at Camelot House and Lodge heard about Bird Day, an awareness  project which originated in the USA and has been observed there every 5 January since 1894.

Manager Zillah Oakes said: “Many of our residents regularly enjoy the Great Garden Birdwatch on TV, but it’s a big ask for them to keep reliable notes on what they see, so we came up with a bundle of more easily achievable bird-themed activities that are keeping them very happy.

“The most important of these was to provide binoculars and support them, from the comfort of the lounge, simply to focus on what bird-life there is just outside in our lovely garden.

“Some of the residents become quite animated when they spot one of their favourite species like robins, blue tits, blackbirds and goldfinches. It brings them so much pleasure.

“There were a couple of birds who flew off before we could identify them so we’re still on the look-out in case they return: there’s a real ongoing team involvement among staff too.

“Our outdoor bird feeding stations are always kept well-stocked, so we have many regular feathered visitors.

“In addition we’ve been busy doing bird-based art and craft activities, with our ladies and gents being really absorbed by creative colouring-in.

“Bunting has been created using their artwork – the beautiful birds they’ve created look great strung across the lounge walls – and we’ve also made some 3D models.

“We also entertained the residents with a quiz where they were trying to identify different birds.

“Obviously we’re all looking forward to being able to sit in the garden again in the spring, but in the meantime on these bright, cold days it’s a real pleasure doing these activities together.”

The bird-watching project has been created as part of a wider programme of varied activities designed to maintain engagement and socialising among the residents of Camelot House and Lodge, which is recognised as a vital element of optimal dementia care.

Camelot House and Lodge is run by award-winning dementia care providers Camelot Care who also run homes in Bridgwater, Plymouth and Yeovil.