Hello everyone. I am sure a lot of our members will have taken part in this year’s Big Garden Bird Watch, organised by the RSPB, and run annually since 1979. Well, the 2021 results have now been made available so here is a summary of them. Over 1,000,000 reporters recorded over 17,000,000 birds!
The first headline is that House Sparrow remains the bird found most often in the gardens of participants, and as this year had over one million contributors, the data is quite sound. In fact all the top 3 remained as per 2020 but with Starling and Blue Tit swapping positions on last year – Blue Tit 2nd and Starling 3rd spot respectively. Similarly, Blackbird and Woodpigeon swapped places from last year, with the latter now back down to 5th most often found. I can recall when Woodpigeon never featured in the top 10, let alone having now ‘forced’ its way up the leaderboard!
Robin forced its way back up to No 6, followed by Great Tit and Goldfinch. Last year’s ‘new’ species, Long-tailed Tit, retained 10th position. I am not too surprised at this as more and more people are now recording them in gardens and they have developed a penchant for fat balls and other food items put out for other species. Meanwhile Magpie, everybody’s favourite garden bird (!) took ninth place.
A notable loser therefore became the Chaffinch, which dropped out of the top ten yet again. I don’t know about you but I have been seeing fewer and fewer of this species, not just in the garden, but generally across countryside and woodland alike.
So that is the order of the top ten, but let’s not get disillusioned here; it sounds like ‘normality’ reigns but in fact despite being seen in most of the gardens studied, actual numbers of all the species continue their worrying downward trend. Although being the most reported bird, the numbers of House Sparrows being reported over the Big Watch weekend were still 53% lower than the first Watches 40 years ago. Starlings are an even greater worry, being 83% below the early years! Even Blackbirds and Robins are down 46% and 32% respectively.
ALL-SUMMER GARDEN BIRDWATCH
So a big ‘thank you’ to all who took part on that particular weekend (twice as many as in 2020) – you contributed to one of the longest-running citizen science project on the planet. But we are also promoting The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) Garden Wildlife Project which runs throughout the season. Details of how to join in this ongoing garden activity are at this page on our web site and we encourage every member to sign up. (https://www.wildcookham.org.uk/bto-big-garden)
Also, to help you with identifying our garden bird species, please go to our own guide at https://www.wildcookham.org.uk/guide-to-our-garden-birds