Sparrows top RSPB garden birdwatch list

This year’s RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch results in East Yorkshire have revealed that the milder winter has helped small garden birds.

Thursday, 2nd April 2020, 12:29 am
The RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch took place over the last weekend in January.

Almost half a million people across the UK, including 4,862 in East Yorkshire, spent an hour watching the birds that visit their garden or outdoor space as part of the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch, counting nearly 8 million birds in total.

The extensive study placed the house sparrow at the top of the birdwatch rankings.

Starlings took second place and blackbirds came third while woodpigeon, blue tits, goldfinches, great tits, collared doves, robins and chaffinches completed the top 10, just ahead of dunnocks, long-tailed tits and magpies.

The RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch took place over the last weekend in January. RSPB Images/Nigel Blake.

The event, held over the last weekend in January, saw an increase in sightings of long-tailed tits, wrens, and coal tits, three of the smallest species to visit our gardens.

The milder weather we experienced at the start of the year appears to have helped populations of these species as small birds are more susceptible to spells of cold weather.

Daniel Hayhow, RSPB conservation scientist, said: “Small birds suffer during long, cold winters but the warmer January weather this year appears to have given species such as the wren and long-tailed tit a boost.

“Over the survey’s lifetime, we’ve seen the increasing good fortunes of birds such as the coal tit and goldfinch and the alarming declines of the house sparrow and starling.

House sparrows were the most frequently seen birds in the East Riding.

“But there appears to be good news for one of these birds. While the overall decline in house sparrow numbers, reported by participants, since the Big Garden Birdwatch began is 53% (1979 – 2020), in the most recent decade (2010-2020) numbers appear to have increased by 10%. This gives us hope that at least a partial recovery may be happening.”

Starlings were seen in nearly half of East Yorkshire's gardens.