September 28th, 2016

Big Garden Birdwatch results flutter in

Updated: 11:17 am, May 07, 2015

THE TOP three most popular garden birds in Worcestershire remained exactly the same as last year, figures released by the RSPB reveal.

The statistics come from this year’s Big Garden Birdwatch which challenged residents to monitor the birds which visited their plots for one hour during a weekend in January.

On average, there were 3.4 house sparrows, 2.7 blue tits and 2.3 blackbirds recorded – they made up the top three with exactly the same figures as last year.

Next was the woodpigeon (1.8) and then the goldfinch (1.5).

Making up the rest of the top ten was the great tit (1.4), starling (1.4), long-tailed tit (1.1) and the chaffinch (1.0).

More than one million people took part in the survey across the UK, 6,175 of those were from Worcestershire.

In the Midlands as a whole, the house sparrow remained at the number one spot, with blackbirds being the second most popular – they appeared in 90 per cent of all gardens. The blue tit was third in the Midlands.

Nationally, there was good news for robins – the number of those spotted across the UK was at its highest since 2011. That was seventh overall in the UK – its joint-highest position since the scheme began.

Two birds figuring in the top 20 – the house sparrow and starling – are on the RSPB’s red list meaning they are ‘of highest conservation priority’ with the species needing urgent action to safeguard their future.

House sparrow numbers have dropped 57 per cent since 1979, but the long-term decline continues to slow which is good news for the species.

RSPB conservation scientist Dr Daniel Hayhow said: “Many garden birds are in desperate need of our help.

“During winter, birds need extra food and water, a safe place to shelter and make their home.

“Gardens providing these things are an invaluable resource for birds and are likely to have a significant effect on their numbers, perhaps even playing a pivotal role in reversing some declines.”

He added he hoped the birdwatch helped people see how their feathered friends used their garden and would inspire them to give nature a home all year round.

This was also the second year that participants were asked to log other types of wildlife in their gardens, including slow worms, grass snakes, deer, squirrels, badgers, hedgehogs, frogs and toads.

That will help the charity build an overall picture of how important gardens are for giving all kinds of wildlife a home – results of that will be revealed later this month.

The Big Schools’ Birdwatch also had another record breaking year with 90,000 participants nationwide.

The blackbird is the most common playground visitor for the seventh year in a row, followed by the starling and the house sparrow – that was more good news for the declining species, as it gave the house sparrow its highest ever position in the schools’ survey.

The birdwatches are all part of the RSPB’s Giving Nature a Home campaign, aimed at tackling the housing crisis facing the UK’s threatened wildlife.

As well as bird boxes, people can also create ponds to support various species or maybe even build a hedgehog home.

Visit rspb.org.uk/homes for more information.

Blue tits are the second most popular bird in Worcestershire. Picture by Ray Kennedy. (rspb-images.com)

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