Bird watching survey reveals blue tits have made a come back to our garden

Library picture of a blue tit enjoying peanuts. Library picture of a blue tit enjoying peanuts.

Thursday, March 27, 2014
12:39 PM

When it comes to birds, it is all change for the region’s ten top - with blue tits making a strong comeback.

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Library picture of a blackbird.Library picture of a blackbird.

More than 30,500 people from Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire took part in this year’s RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch.

And now the results have been combined to help the national charity discover more about the changes among our most popular garden birds.

In Norfolk, blue tits have moved back into the top three after dropping down the league table in 2013 while in Suffolk they have moved to the top spot.

They have replaced blackbirds which are now at number three, the same as Cambridgeshire, while in Norfolk blackbirds remain at the number one spot.

Library picture of a small, dainty, highly coloured finch with a bright red face and yellow wing patch.Library picture of a small, dainty, highly coloured finch with a bright red face and yellow wing patch.

Goldfinches have climbed higher across the three counties and in Norfolk and Suffolk the robin has crept back into the top 10, after dropping out last year.

And starlings are bucking the national trend and have moved up two places to be the fourth most seen bird in the survey.

Click here to see the results of the Big Garden Birdwatch 2014.

A Robin singing in the sun in Thorpe St Andrew . Photo: Steve AdamsA Robin singing in the sun in Thorpe St Andrew . Photo: Steve Adams

However, behind what seems like positive trends, there are significant long-term declines for some garden birds.

Rachael Murray, speaking for the RSPB in the east, said: “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.”

Scientists believe that the weather has played a big role in this year’s results 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.

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

There are however concerns about the decline of starlings and song thrushes. They have dropped by 84% and 81%, respectively, since Birdwatch began in 1979. Both species are on the UK red list - this means they are of the highest conservation concern.

There is slightly better news for the house sparrow. The decline appears to have slowed and it remains the most commonly seen bird in our gardens. It is also on the red list.

This year, for the first time, participants were also asked to log some of the other wildlife they see in their gardens, including deer, squirrels, badgers, hedgehogs frogs and toads.

This information will be analysed and results will be revealed next month.

Have you discovered anything interesting in your garden? Email reporter donna-louise.bishop@archant.co.uk, ring 01603 693892 or follow on Twitter @donnalou19.

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