Bad year for blue tits

PUBLISHED: 17:09 15 June 2009 | UPDATED: 15:08 20 February 2013

The number of birds seen in gardens during this year's RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch, held over a weekend in January, was the lowest level for five years. More than 4,500 people in Warwickshire took part in the survey.

The number of birds seen in gardens during this year's RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch, held over a weekend in January, was the lowest level for five years. More than 4,500 people in Warwickshire took part in the survey.



The results reveal that starlings were top of the garden bird league table in Warwickshire, with house sparrows and blackbirds as the runners-up.



Last year's wet breeding season appears to have had a significant impact on the number of birds visiting local gardens. The survey results indicate that blue tits were particularly badly hit by the severe weather with far fewer visiting gardens than in recent years. In Warwickshire, the average number of blue tits reported from gardens fell from 3.1 in 2007 to 2.5 this year.




Although still one of the most common birds in UK gardens, fewer house sparrows were also reported from many areas of the West Midlands and the RSPB is concerned by the indication of continuing decline. Nationally, sparrow numbers have decreased by almost two thirds since 1979.




However, not all garden birds had the winter blues. The survey also showed that four colourful species of finches are increasingly visiting our gardens. Siskins, bullfinches, redpolls and goldfinches were all more common in the region's gardens.



For the first time, the colourful goldfinch made it into the UK Top 10 garden bird list, with a third more birds recorded than in 2004.



Nationally, the house sparrow retained its top spot with an average of 3.60 per garden, however its numbers have decreased by almost two thirds since 1979.



The full UK-wide Big Garden Birdwatch results are available on the RSPB website. Visit www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch

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