Wednesday, 31 March 2010

RSPB Garden Birdwatch Results

This is from the RSPB....

It's official, small birds struggled to beat the snowy winter.  A massive thanks to everyone (nearly 530,000 of you!) who took part in Big Garden Birdwatch and counted over 8 and a half million birds. We celebrated last year with the arrival of long-tailed tits in the top 10 for the first time, suggesting they were getting used to feeding on seeds and peanuts in hanging feeders and on bird tables.  However, smaller bodied birds are particularly susceptible to the cold, having to eat almost continuously to stay alive, so we were very keen to get your counts and see just how the bad weather at the start of the year affected bird populations.  As predicted, birds like the long-tailed tit, coat tit and goldcrest were the worst affected, with average numbers of all three species dropping significantly since the 2009 survey.

Country birds get in on the count.  The weather was also responsible for many more sightings of countryside birds like fieldfares, redwings, bullfinches and yellowhammers in gardens. More usually found in fields and farmland trees and hedgerows, these birds visit our gardens for food when they can't find enough in their usual haunts.  Other members of the thrush family, including song thrushes, mistle thrushes and blackbirds, were seen in much higher numbers this year, also looking for food.  An unusually high number of blackcaps were also seen. In this harsher winter we might have expected their numbers to decline, but more blackcaps than usual were discovered on bird tables. Just like the long-tailed tit, this suggests that blackcaps are adapting their feeding behaviour to take advantage of bird tables and feeders, and therefore becoming more visible in gardens.

Still in decline  Although we were particularly concerned for small birds this cold and snowy winter, some of our most familiar garden birds have also continued to suffer huge declines.  House sparrows might have retained top spot for the seventh year running, but in the last five years alone these chirpy birds have declined by 17%.  Blackbirds rose from third to second place, while starlings dropped to third - the first time they have been out of the top two in more than 10 years.

The 2010 Big Garden Birdwatch top 10 nationwide;
Position Species Average per garden
  1. house sparrow 3.77
  2. blackbird 3.28
  3. starling 3.13
  4. blue tit 2.58
  5. chaffinch 2.19
  6. woodpigeon 1.91
  7. robin 1.49
  8. great tit 1.39
  9. collared dove 1.33
  10. goldfinch 1.29

And in North Yorkshire: 
  1. Sparrow Average no per garden 4.76, Percentage of gardens  75.7%
  2. Blackbird 4.03, 97.8
  3. Starling 3.48, 59.0
  4. Chaffinch 2.44, 61.7
  5. Blue Tit 2.43, 82.5
  6. Goldfinch 1.57, 35.0
  7. Collared Dove 1.55, 63.1
  8. Woodpigeon 1.43, 57.1
  9. Robin 1.34, 85.1
  10. Dunnock 1.30, 61.9
  11. Great Tit 1.21, 55.0
  12. Long tailed tit 0.88, 22.1
  13. Greenfinch 0.86, 31.7
  14. Coal Tit 0.76,  43.5
  15. Tree sparrow 0.71, 13.8
  16. Jackdaw 0.64, 20.4
  17. Carrion crow 0.45, 20.0
  18. Magpie 0.44, 25.6
  19. Feral pigeon 0.40, 14.1
  20. Wren 0.32, 27.7

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