Results from RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch

RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch results show a mixed picture for UK’s garden birds. House sparrow, starling and blue tit remain at the top of the rankings.
But for many species, including wrens and long-tailed tits, fewer birds were recorded than in 2018. In fact 15 of the top 20 species returned fewer sightings in gardens across the country than in 2018. Populations of many species may have been affected by last year’s ‘Beast from the East’ as small birds are more susceptible to spells of cold weather. But the RSPB say it's too early to say if this is a one year blip or the beginning of a trend.
Almost half a million people across the UK spent an hour in January watching the birds that visit their garden or outdoor space, counting more than 7.5 million birds in total. Sadly there was a 17% decrease in sightings of wrens, and long-tailed tits sightings declined by nearly a third.
Over four decades, Big Garden Birdwatch has highlighted the winners and losers in the garden bird world. It was first to alert the RSPB to the decline in song thrush numbers. This species was a firm fixture in the top 10 in 1979. By 2009, its numbers were less than half those recorded in 1979, it came in at 20th in the rankings this year.
Daniel Hayhow, RSPB Conservation Scientist, said: “Over its long lifetime, the survey has shown the increasing good fortunes of birds such as the goldfinch and wood pigeon and the alarming declines of the house sparrow and starling. But there appears to be good news for one of these birds. In 1979 - 2009, there was a massive decline (56%) in house sparrow numbers, reported by participants, but in the most recent decade (2009-2019) numbers appear to have increased by 10%. Giving us hope that at least a partial recovery may be happening. This year’s survey also highlighted a rise in the number of sightings of redwings and fieldfares on last year’s figures."
See here for full results. And how you can get involved next year.
Birds are an important part of the wildlife essential in organic gardening. Planting shrubs and trees for shelter and feeding habitat, will help bring birds into your growing area.
See here on which are the best to grow.
“Our garden birds should be a part of our everyday life. For many people they provide our only connection to the natural world and bring enormous joy," says Martin Harper, the RSPB’s Director of Conservation. "The time we spend in nature, just watching and listening, can have huge benefits to our wellbeing, especially in these stressful times."
Birdsong recording
The RSPB is bringing birdsong back into people’s busy lives by releasing a soothing track of recorded bird song. ‘Let Nature Sing’ is a compilation of beautiful sound recordings of birds who form part of the dawn chorus choir - including the cuckoo, curlew, nightingale, crane and turtle dove.
The charity is calling on the public to download, stream and share the single and help get birdsong into the charts for the first time, spreading the word that people across the UK are passionate about nature’s recovery.