RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch Results 2014

The half a million people who took part in this year’s RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch have discovered some interesting changes among our most popular garden birds, with some species that benefit from a bit of extra help creeping up the rankings.

27th March 2014

The half a million people who took part in this year’s RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch have discovered some interesting changes among our most popular garden birds, with some species that benefit from a bit of extra help creeping up the rankings. 

It’s all change in the top ten with blue tits in their highest position since Big Garden Birdwatch began, at number two.


The previous occupier of the second spot, blackbirds, have dropped to number four. 



Scientists believe that the weather has played a role in the ups and downs in this year’s top ten as many of the birds were recorded in lower numbers in gardens due to the mild conditions. Some species, such as blue tits, were likely to be more reliant on food provided in gardens than others, such as blackbirds, which could easily find their favoured foods like worms and insects in the countryside.


Just ten years ago, goldfinches were in 14th position, but scientists believe that the increase in people providing food like nyjer seed and sunflower hearts in gardens, may have contributed to their steady rise to number seven.

 

Overall numbers of species such as blackbirds, fieldfares and redwings may appear to have dropped in our gardens since last year, but in many cases this is not because these populations are in decline. These species don’t need to come into our gardens during mild winters due to there being plenty of natural food available in the wider countryside.


However the continuing declines of some species are of greater concern. 

Numbers of starlings and song thrushes have dropped by an alarming 84 and 81 per cent respectively since the Birdwatch began. Both species are on the UK ‘red list’ meaning they are of the highest conservation concern.

There is slightly better news for the house sparrow, as the declines appear to have slowed, and it remains the most commonly seen bird in our gardens. However, it remains on the red list as we have still lost 62% of the population since 1979.

Richard Bashford, Big Garden Birdwatch organiser, says: “2014 was always going to be an interesting Big Garden Birdwatch as the winter has been so mild, and we wondered if it would have a significant impact on garden birds.

“They were out and about in the wider countryside finding natural food instead of taking up our hospitality. The good news is that this may mean we have more birds in our gardens in the coming breeding season because more survived the mild winter. It is a great time to give nature a home by putting up a nesting box and supplementary feeding.”

The results

Rank

Species

Mean

% gardens

Rank in 2013

% change since 1979

1

House sparrow

3.788

55.19

1

-62.1

2

Blue tit

2.456

73.52

3

0.7

3

Starling

2.375

33.09

4

-84.2

4

Blackbird

2.168

82.06

2

-45.8

5

Woodpigeon

1.685

63.21

5

742.5

6

Chaffinch

1.497

41.30

6

-50.1

7

Goldfinch

1.426

28.48

8

NA

8

Great tit

1.251

51.43

7

39.0

9

Collared dove

1.162

44.71

11

315.1

10

Robin

1.099

73.05

9

-45.1

11

Magpie

0.918

45.15

13

129.6

12

Dunnock

0.813

43.50

12

1.6

13

Long tailed tit

0.768

18.66

10

NA

14

Feral pigeon

0.620

16.30

15

NA

15

Greenfinch

0.556

19.67

16

NA

16

Jackdaw

0.550

15.24

17

-44.4

17

Coal tit

0.535

28.05

14

NA

18

Carrion crow

0.489

19.62

18

181.8

19

Wren

0.178

15.69

20

NA

20

Great spotted woodpecker

0.121

9.98

25

11.4

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