The BTO has found that over the first half of this winter, fewer birds have been coming into gardens in search of food.
's Garden BirdWatch is a year-round survey of birds visiting gardens and garden bird feeders with some 17,500 people contributing observations from their gardens. Results have just been analysed for the first half of this winter and show that many species, particularly those that feed on tree seeds, e.g. coal tit (Parus ater
) and nuthatch (Sitta europaea
), and those that feed on invertebrates, e.g. song thrush (Turdus philomelos
) and blackbird (Turdus merula
), are down on what is normally expected for the time of year. It is thought that bumper crops of tree seeds like beechmast account for the reduction in the seedeaters since with more natural seed available, the birds are less inclined to come into gardens for food. Similarly, fewer than average frosts have probably resulted in a greater availability of food in the wider countryside for those birds that feed on invertebrates in the soil.
Anon. 2005. Millions of birds shun garden feeding stations. BTO News release No. 2005/01/05.