The Results of the Big Garden Birdwatch
The first Big Garden Birdwatch was conducted in 1979 and since then the population species of starling and song thrushes have dramatically declined. Every year the RSPB runs a survey which is known as the Big Garden Birdwatch. In January 2016 the thirty seventh annual survey was ran and it attracted half a million participates. All of the participants that take part in this survey record the birds that they see in their garden over the birdwatch weekend. During this year’s survey which took place on January 30th and 31st there was over eight million birds recorded.
One of the most common birds that was recorded was the house sparrow. The runner up for the most spotted would go to starlings and blue tits. There was seventy nine different species recorded. There was some lucky participants who spotted black redstarts, waxwings and red kites.
The strange mild weather this winter will have had an impact on the birds that were recorded. Prior to the survey taking place it was thought that less garden birds would be seen due to them not relying on bird feeders as much. Weather records show that December was the warmest and the wettest month in the United Kingdom in more than a century and then it was followed by a January which was unseasonable warm.
The mild weather conditions in the few months before the survey was conducted appears to have greatly benefited the species of birds that feed on small insects. The results of the survey showed that there was a forty four per cent increase in the amount of long tailed tits that were seen compared with the results from last year. Long tailed tits feature a smattering of pink, black and white colours and they tend to be a sociable species. These birds are rapidly becoming a favourite with wildlife watchers. The long tailed tits have made it to the tenth most seen birds in the survey results, which is the first time for seven years that they have made it into the top ten.
The weather can have a massive impact on the behaviour and habitats that the birds use. The increase in long tailed tit sighting and other small birds shows they can survive in bigger numbers when the weather is not so cold. The warmer weather during the recent winter has meant that it has been easier for the birds to find food such as insects.
The results from this year show that there is also good news for greenfinches as there was a twenty per cent increase in numbers compared to the previous year. Recently the greenfinch population have been declining mainly due to a parasite induced disease which prevents them from feeding properly.
Unfortunately however it is not all good news as there are several species that have been showing long term declines which still continue. The number of sightings of song thrushes and starlings have again shown a reduction. Since 1979 starlings have shown an eighty one per cent decline, song thrushes have shown an eighty nine per cent decline and how sparrows have shown a fifty eight per cent decline.