At the end of January every year, citizen scientists across the UK take part in the the Big Garden Birdwatch.
Almost half a million people participated in this year’s event, spending an hour in their garden or local park recording the birds that they saw. All the data was submitted to the RSPB, and after some serious number crunching, the results are now out.
The top 10 birds this year are:
1. House sparrow
8. Great tit
10. Long tailed tit
Alongside these, high numbers of migratory birds such as waxwings and fieldfares were also reported. Weather conditions in Scandinavia resulted in the berry crop failing this year, which is thought to have caused these species to flock to the UK in search of food.
But the top 10 list above doesn’t tell the whole story; although starlings were the second most commonly reported bird this year, starling populations have actually decreased by a worrying 79% since 1979.
Both chaffinch and greenfinch populations are also down by well over 50% since the 1970s. Tits haven’t fared so well either, with less blue tits, great tits and coal tits recorded than last year.
Citizen science projects such as this give a valuable insight into the health of our wildlife in the UK. They show that our much loved songbirds are in trouble.
SongBird Survival is an independent bird charity working to understand the reasons behind songbird declines in the UK. We raise funds to commission targeted research, and aim to identify solutions to restore songbird numbers, saving the dawn chorus for tomorrow.
To learn more about our work and how you can help, visit our website.