Fersiwn Gymraeg ar gael yma

While most events in the past year have been cancelled, we’ve been fortunate to be able to go ahead with our favourite weekend of all.

The beauty of the Big Garden Bird Watch weekend is that you don’t need to go farther than your living room to take part. Fortunately, due to it being a mainly home-based event, the Big Garden Birdwatch 2021 weekend was able to go ahead. And because we were all confined to our homes, it has had a pretty big impact on our participation number this year.  

Was this year a success?

A year ago, as the first lockdown was introduced, we saw many people reflecting on their new, slower pace of life by looking through the window and embracing the nature on their doorstep. Twitter, Instagram and other social network channels were swept with colourful images of wonder from gardens all over the country, rural and urban. We decided to celebrate this by introducing #BreakfastBirdwatch to our mornings, and this   special hashtag was an easy way to scroll in delight, documenting nature that perhaps previously had been taken for granted or gone unnoticed. This was a sign that there was some kind of solace to be had in looking, listening, learning, even laughing, about the wonders in our natural world. We saw people purchase bird feeders and install nest boxes for the first time, looking to welcome more wildlife than they had previously, and with less cars on the road, we heard birdsong clearer than most of us could ever recall.

After a summer of joyous online celebration, nature went into its inevitable autumnal slumber - and as things quietened, #BreakfastBirdwatch followed suit. And while we had so much to feel positive about in terms of public engagement with nature, would we see this reflected when January came round for the annual Big Garden Birdwatch?

Well, the answer was a resounding yes.

A record-breaking year

Numbers doubled, as we saw a massive 53,279 people return 33,385 surveys in Wales’ largest citizen science project - over double last year’s amount. The enthusiasm we’ve seen over the last 12 months has really showed in the participation this year, and we are so very grateful to every single one of you who took part. Each survey has been a small but crucial part in the puzzle, as we try to figure out which species are doing well, and which may need more of our help.

What do the results show us? 

In terms of results, Wales’ top ten was again very similar to the year before, with slight changes among the same personnel. Once again, the house sparrow came out on top – with the starling climbing to second, switching places with the ever-popular blue tit. Another favourite, the robin, flew up three places, as we saw the colourful goldfinch drop to the 10th spot. In terms of numbers, we saw a stark reminder of the fragility of the state of even our most populous birds - 8 of the top 10 birds' numbers have fallen in the last year. Only the robin and the blackbird saw an increase. 

Our hope is that we can continue to gather such resounding support as we’ve received in the last 12 months - going onwards and upwards, post-lockdown and post-Covid, in a green recovery which sees us put nature at the centre of all different aspects of how Wales as a country operates - be that our environment, our health or our economy.

Big Garden Birdwatch 2021 in Wales - the results in full

Rank

Species

Average per garden

% of gardens species recorded in 2021

Rank in 2020

% change in average count since 2020

LONG TERM Average per garden% change 1979 – 2021 (UK)

Change over the last decade (UK)

1

House sparrow

6.4

76.1

1

-6.4

-57.8

11.9

2

Starling

3.4

42.1

3

-9.3

9.6

0.2

3

Blue tit

3.4

75.0

2

-13.4

-82.6

-14.4

4

Blackbird

2.6

89.2

4

+17.5

-40.7

-13.8

5

Great tit

1.7

55.1

6

-2.0

1029.2

28.2

6

Robin

1.7

86.7

9

+12.1

-24.6

4.9

7

Chaffinch

1.6

40.5

5

-12.7

57.1

6.5

8

Magpie

1.4

60.2

10

-0.1

Data not available

Data not available

9

Long tailed tit

1.4

27.2

8

-15.4

191.9

29.5

10

Goldfinch

1.3

24.9

7

-23.4

Data not available

Data not available

11

Jackdaw

1.3

31.6

11

-0.8

-67.9

-43.9

12

Woodpigeon

1.3

52.6

12

-0.1

188.2

-27.5

13

Coal tit

1.0

42.1

15

+5.2

-2.4

-17.1

14

Dunnock

0.9

41.7

14

-9.7

279.2

9.5

15

Collared dove

0.9

36.6

13

-13.9

Data not available

Data not available

16

Carrion crow

0.7

24.8

16

-2.8

Data not available

Data not available

17

Feral pigeon

0.5

11.9

17

-12.6

Data not available

Data not available

18

Wren

0.3

26.2

18

-7.2

76.8

10.0

19

Greenfinch

0.3

9.7

19

-21.0

-71.9

-63.9

20

Nuthatch

0.2

12.6

20

+2.8

-78.4

-48.9

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