The RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch results are in. It’s been well publicised in the press that finches have done very well indeed, with goldfinches making the top ten species for the first time, and siskins making it to the top 20. Even bramblings have done well, moving from 57 to 36 in the rankings.
Overall, however, the results are slightly bleaker, with the number of birds seen overall declining by a fifth since 2004. I have to wonder how this was affected by weather though – it was a very windy weekend, and this will have meant more birds sheltering out of sight. I, for example, saw far fewer birds than I would normally have expected at that time in a morning.
The national top 10 is as follows:
1. House Sparrow
4. Blue Tit
7. Collared Dove
9. Great Tit
I also wonder if some of the less visible, skulkier birds such as dunnocks (which do make the top 15) and wrens are under-recorded in the survey.
It’s interesting to compare the national list with South Yorkshire’s top 10, which can be found in the RSPB’s county by county guide:
1. House Sparrow
5. Blue Tit
6. Collared Dove
7. Long-tailed Tit
I’m not surprised at all that goldfinch and long-tailed tit are higher than the national average, as they seem to be very numerous birds in most places I visit. I’m perhaps slightly surprised that house sparrow and starling are still the top two, although the numbers are significantly smaller than the national averages (House Sparrow 3.6 per garden national average, 2.43 in S. Yorks; Starling 3.44 national, 2.19 S. Yorks).
And a final note, it’s good to see tree sparrows still make the top ten in some counties – Aberdeenshire and East Yorkshire.