Space For Nature
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News: September 2003

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Its official: the robin is now the most widespread garden bird

Appeared on Space For Nature on September 4th 2003
The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) has just released the latest results from its ongoing 'Garden Bird Feeding Survey'. Every single garden represented in the survey was visited by at least on Robin (Erithacus rubecula).
Since the winter of 1970/71 garden owners up and down the country have been charting the weekly peak numbers of feeding birds on behalf of the BTO. Since that time, the bird food and feeding market has mushroomed: it is now believed to be worth something like 150 million annually with 60,000 tonnes of peanuts and seed being supplied to our garden birds.

This is the first time that the robin has been recorded in every garden in the survey. In terms of percentages of gardens in which each species was recorded, here's how the top 12 stacked up:
  1. Robin 100.0 (99)
  2. Blue Tit 99.6 (99)
  3. Blackbird 99.2 (99)
  4. Great Tit 98.1 (93)
  5. Chaffinch 97.0 (92)
  6. Greenfinch 97.0 (92)
  7. Dunnock 96.2 (95)
  8. Collared Dove 91.7 (60)
  9. Coal Tit 87.9 (70)
  10. House Sparrow 86.7 (97)
  11. Starling 85.6 (96)
  12. Magpie 72.7 (29)
Figures in parentheses represent the percentage of gardens the species was recorded in between winters of 1970 and 1980 (average figures over 10 winters from 1970/71 to 1979/80).

Other notable figures include that for the magpie (Pica pica) - now much more common in gardens than a few decades ago.
BTO. 2003. Robin - Every garden should have one. Viewed on the web at on September 4th 2003.

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