The RSPB has published the results of its Big Garden Birdwatch survey which took place in January of this year.
Almost 400,000 people took part in the survey this year across some 210,000 gardens (figures slightly down on last year - see news item for 26th March 2004
Results indicate that the house sparrow (Passer domesticus
) and starling (Sturnus vulgaris
) are still a long way down on their garden numbers when the survey began over 25 years ago. However the decline has slowed in recent years. Giving more cause for concern was the fact that the song thrush (Turdus philomelos
) this year dropped out of the 'top 20' garden birds for the first time since the survey began.
The results of the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch, however, should be viewed in the context of other survey work also being carried out. The BTO
's Garden BirdWatch is a year round survey and recent results show that garden birds, in general, were scarce this winter (see news item for 21st February 2005
). The year-round results do not suggest that this is part of a general decline. Rather, it is hypothesised that natural food was particularly abundant this winter resulting in less demand for garden food from the birds themselves.