The results of the Big Garden Birdwatch are in and last year’s record-breaking mild winter has had a significant effect on populations of our feathery friends.
The long-tailed tit has returned to the top 10 most commonly seen birds for the first time in seven years, a rise of 44% on last year, while great tits and coal tits also benefitted from the warmer weather. It’s thought the mild weather – the third warmest on record for the UK as a whole – helped them survive the winter, when cold weather kills off many of our smallest birds. The RSPB said gardeners who feed seeds and peanuts at bird tables and hanging feeders were also helping our smallest garden visitors get through the coldest months of the year.
Overall, the house sparrow remains the most commonly-seen garden bird, with an average of 4.2 birds per garden. The starling was second most common, while the blue tit was in third place. Overall though, the trend in populations continues downwards, with populations of house sparrows 58% down since the survey began in 1979 and blackbirds down by 38%.
Over half a million people took part in this year’s RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch, clocking 8.2 million birds in the two-day survey.