RSPB reveals Birdwatch winners and losers

Tree sparrow

The tree sparrow, which has shot up the Birdwatch rankings

More than 43,000 people in Scotland took part in this year's Great Garden Birdwatch

Graham Martin's photo

24th March 2015 by Graham Martin 0 Comments

The humble house sparrow retained its position as top of the flocks in RSPB Scotland’s Big Garden Birdwatch.

Big Garden Birdwatch 2015 - the top 20

1

House sparrow



2

Starling

3

Chaffinch


4

Blackbird


5

Blue tit


6

Robin


7

Woodpigeon


8

Goldfinch


9

Great tit


10

Feral pigeon


11

Carrion crow


12

Dunnock


13

Coal tit


14

Collared dove


15

Magpie


16

Tree sparrow


17

Jackdaw


18

Long tailed tit


19

Greenfinch


20

Pheasant


More than 43,000 people across the country took part in the event this year, spending an hour counting the birds in their garden over the weekend of 24 and 25 January.

Overall more than 632,000 birds were counted in Scotland. House sparrows stayed at the top of the rankings, while starlings moved up one place to second and chaffinches moved down a place to third.

Both robins and much rarer tree sparrows saw big climbs in the top 20.

Robins moved up three places to number six and were Scotland’s most widespread garden bird after being seen in more than 91.4 per cent of gardens and tree sparrows are now perched at number 16, their highest position for 10 years.

Coal tits took the biggest tumble in the top 20 falling from number nine in 2014 to number 13 in 2015.

Keith Morton, species policy officer at RSPB Scotland, said: “It’s great that so many people took part in this year’s Big Garden Birdwatch. Both house sparrows and starlings, the top two birds in our 2015 results, are red list species, and so your results help us at RSPB Scotland to paint a picture of how they and other birds are faring over winter.”

Across the UK this year’s results indicate that the long term decline of house sparrows appears to have continued to slow, and it is the most commonly spotted bird in the UK.

However, they remain a conservation concern as numbers have dropped by 57% since the first Birdwatch in 1979. Starlings are also of high concern having dropped in numbers by an alarming 80 per cent since the first Birdwatch.

Morton added: “Big Garden Birdwatch helps us understand some of the trends in bird numbers. However, a decline in ranking in one year doesn’t necessarily mean a cause for concern. For example warmer weather overseas might explain why some of our winter visitors aren’t so plentiful in the Birdwatch results this year.”

There was a notable decline in the number of some winter migrants that were spotted, with both bramblings and waxwings taking a nosedive, although was related to good conditions on the continent over the winter, reducing the need to migrate.