2014 'may not have been great for birdwatchers'

2014 'may not have been great for birdwatchers'

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Keen birdwatchers who felt as though they saw fewer birds in their gardens last year may have been right, according to new data from the British Trust for Ornithology's (BTO) Garden BirdWatch.

The organisation has collated its data from citizen scientists for throughout the year and discovered that gardens were not generally being inundated with common birds.

However, since this was attributed to good weather and more widely available resources for our British species, this should be viewed as a good thing for native populations.

Indeed, Wren survival rates were significantly higher than the five-year average, while Robins, Blackbirds, Long-tailed Tits and Song Thrushes also all enjoyed productive breeding seasons.

Meanwhile, the lowest numbers of garden Siskins since 1995 were recorded, which the Forestry Commission said was down to the relatively mild and dry winter, as well as a good year for the sitka spruce tree on which the finches depend.

BTO spokesperson Clare Simm commented: "Continuing mild weather and the ability to obtain food in the wider countryside meant that birds did not need to come into gardens in greater numbers than usual. This demonstrates the value of having long-term datasets so that we can tell when and how birds are using gardens."

However, she insisted that the birds are out there and urged everyone to continue their efforts in taking care of them, including keeping their eyes open as to what species are visiting gardens on a regular basis.

The BTO Garden BirdWatch runs weekly throughout the year and anyone can join in through the website.

You can attract a variety of species to your garden and give them supplementary nutrition should the weather turn unfavourable by providing high-quality seed mixtures in both hanging feeders and on bird tables.

We've got some great March offers to get you started here at CJ Wildlife, including our best-selling table seed.