The results of the RSPB’s Big Garden Bird Watch 2015 are in, with near-record numbers of people heading out into their gardens on 25th and 26th January to record the species they could spot.
More than 585,000 Britons took part, which was almost 100,000 more than last year and created what RSPB scientist Dr Daniel Hayhow called “a real goldmine” of data.
The average number of Robins seen was found to be at its highest since 2011, while Blackbirds were the UK’s most widespread garden bird, having been recorded by more than 90 per cent of respondents.
Researchers said the cold snap at the time of recording may have been encouraging the birds into people’s green spaces to hunt down food and shelter.
However, the results continued to show a long-term decline in populations, with the House Sparrow’s numbers down by 58 per cent since the survey began in 1979 and Starlings and Song Thrushes decreasing by 80 and 79 per cent respectively.
Fewer finches were also spotted by the citizen scientists, with a 17 per cent decline in the number of garden visits by Greenfinches alone. It was suggested this could have been down to the effects of a disease called trichomonosis, although the RSPB also pointed out that a better seed supply in the countryside might have resulted in less of a need for supplementary food among these birds.
Dr Hayhow commented: “Overall we’ve got quite serious declines in species of conservation concern.”
It’s great to hear that so many of you are getting involved with citizen science project such as this, as the information collected can really help to build up a better picture of Britain’s wildlife.
However, it’s also sad that some of our once common birds are now on conservation watch lists for scarcity.
It just goes to show the importance of continuing to take care of them in your gardens and putting out nutritious seed mixes to help them through tough times - try our Hi-Energy No Mess mix for a food that will suit a variety of species.