Another record breaking year in terms of participation. Continued declines for some species were offset by increases in others.
More than 470,000 people, including 86,000 children, watched their gardens and local parks during the RSPB
's Big Garden Birdwatch on 28-29 January. 8.1 million birds from 80 different species were spotted and more than 270,000 gardens were surveyed - the equivalent of 7,000 football pitches.
Although the house sparrow (Passer domesticus
) retained its top spot this year as the most common garden bird, its numbers are still massively down from levels at the beginning of Big Garden Birdwatch. With an average of just 4.41 sparrows seen per garden this year, compared to an average of 10 in 1979, the house sparrow has seen a decline of 56%. Having dropped off the top spot in 2004, the starling (Sturnus vulgaris
) continued to decline in 2006, with numbers per garden down to a quarter of those recorded in gardens in 1979.
On the brighter sides, the greenfinch (Carduelis chloris
) and wren (Troglodytes troglodytes
) have both seen their numbers increase over the past 27 years by 67% and 140% respectively. Some more unusual species were also commoner in our gardens this year. For example, the number of siskins (Carduelis spinus
) was up by 483% from last year, and bramblings (Fringilla montifringilla
) were up by 371%.