How did you Big Garden Birdwatch this year? Whether alone listening to music or as part of a group with family and friends, 491,984 birds appeared in Wales’ gardens and park this year, witnessed by just over 26,000 people in Wales.
The house sparrow remained the most frequently spotted garden bird in Wales having been spotted 6.3 times per garden on average, with the starling narrowly overtaking the blue tit into second place.
Like last year, the most common visitor to our garden feeders were blackbirds and robins who were spotted in just under 86% of gardens in Wales. The goldfinch (+5.2%) and great spotted woodpecker (+7.9%) became more frequent as they enjoyed all the tasty bird food set out for them to feast on. However, our gardens saw long tailed tits (-36.5%) and coal tits (-14.6%) become scarcer visitors.
Big Garden Birdwatch’s 40-years is evidence of the goldfinch’s remarkable rise. Having not even made the original top 10 chart during the first survey in 1979, goldfinches are now one of the most frequent visitors to our gardens in Wales. The exotic, pretty-looking goldfinches has seen an amazing rise through the ranks over the years as they make use our gardens as their favourite restaurants.
Long-tailed tit and coal tit numbers were amongst the most impressive visitors during Big Garden Birdwatch 2018 in Wales. This year, however, both species were rarer sightings in our gardens. This could be nothing to worry about, as the milder winter weather may mean they’ve had enough food elsewhere and therefore putting less pressure on them to rely on our garden feeders. However, it remains unclear what impact the extreme cold weather brought by the Beast from the East in February and March 2018 may have had on our garden birds.
The popularity of the Birdwatch has grown year-on-year and 40 years later it is the world’s largest wildlife survey, with around half a million regularly taking part. It provides us with valuable information to help build a better picture of how our garden birds are doing.
The connection between us humans and the wildlife on our doorsteps has never been more important. With more birds than ever on the Red List in Wales and therefore in danger, citizen science – whereby anyone of us can contribute and help make a difference to nature – is playing a crucial role in determining the state of our bird populations. By doing our bit through the Big Garden Birdwatch, we hope we can play a role in helping conservationists to reverse some declines in our garden birds.
For a full round-up of all the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch results and to see which birds were visiting gardens where you live, visit www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch
Top ten in Wales:
Average per garden 2019
% Gardens 2019
Average per garden 2018
% Gardens 2018
% change in % gardens recorded
Great spotted woodpecker
Image credits in the order they appear: Goldfinch by John Bridges, coal tit by Michael Harvey and the last image is by Rahul Thanki.
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