Even before I started working at RSPB Scotland, Big Garden Birdwatch was always one of my highlights of the year. Taking an hour or so to look out the window and watch the birds is always a good time, but knowing I'm part of something bigger just makes it extra special.
A few things were against us this year, most notably the weather. With heavy showers and blustery winds all over the country, it would have been easy to let our spirits sink and find a warm cubby hole to crawl into (as many of the birds undoubtedly did). But despite all that, an incredible 44,412 people took part across Scotland, counting a whopping 837,650 birds. This is another year of invaluable data that will help us on our mission to save nature, so thanks so much to each and every one of you from everyone here at RSPB Scotland.
And now, here are this year's top 10 garden birds in Scotland:
10. Coal tit
Sneaking into the top 10 was the coal tit. They saw a slight decline from 2021, with 17% less counted this year. Let’s hope it’s just a temporary blip and we see more in our gardens in years to come.
Image credit: Ben Hall
In 9th place, robins lived up to their reputation of being solitary birds. While they were counted in 85% of surveys, most were on their own, leading to a slight drop from 7th place last year.
Image credit: Ben Andrew
The biggest climbers of the top 10 this year, you counted 43% more goldfinches than in 2021. This thankfully stops a slide that saw them drop from 6th to 10th the year before. Onwards and upwards!
Image credit: Tim Hughes
7. Great tit
Despite climbing one position compared with 2021, great tits saw a small decrease in numbers counted. They showed up in more than half of surveys but declined by about 3% overall.
Image credit: Chris Gomersall
A steady year for the woodpigeon which retains its 6th place. They saw a slight increase overall (about 6%), but not enough to break into the top 5.
Image credit: Ray Kennedy
Like robins, blackbirds were seen in lots of surveys with 83% of you counting at least one. Unlike robins however, many of you actually spotted two or three, helping them squeeze into the top 5.
Moving up a position from last year, chaffinches were the 4th most counted bird in this year’s event. Their overall numbers also increased by about 9% compared with 2021.
Image credit: Andy Hay
3. Blue tit
We’re at the business end of the results now and taking the bronze medal is the blue tit. Counted in a whopping 76% of gardens with almost 3 birds per survey, they remain in the same position as last year.
In second place we have a bird that is known for gathering in large flocks - starlings. They only appeared in 37% of gardens, but when they did show up, they did so in big numbers. Another that kept its position from 2021
Image credit: Ben Andrew
1. House sparrow
It's a familiar sight in number 1 as the house sparrow finished top again this year. You counted an incredible 145,665 of them across Scotland! Will 2023 finally see their unprecedented winning streak come to an end?
There was some moving and shaking within the top 10 but no new species broke in this year. Looking down a little further, we saw increases in feral pigeons, magpies and jackdaws, so perhaps one of them can force their way onto our list for 2023.
For a full list of results, including local authorities and the UK as a whole, click here.
Thank you so much for joining us for Big Garden Birdwatch 2022.
See you next year!
Thanks for taking part, Linda. A brambling sounds lovely!
Thanks for the results. I Certainly get the top 10 ten birds in my Scottish garden and many more. Was a pleasure to take part as always as a Brambling turned up during my hour ;-)
Hi Iain, it really was a wild weekend wasn't it? Great to hear you get so much action at your feeders though, including some unusually sociable robins!
I was unable to do a count this year due to the inclement weather. What I will say is I watch my bird feeding station daily and the birds I witness are Robins, yes Robins, sometimes up to four at a time, Coal/Great/Blue/Long Tailed Tits, resident Wood Pigeon and friends, Magpies, Jackdaws, Crows, Gold/Bull/Green Finches since I put Niger seeds out for them and occasional Jay. On occasions I also witness Wrens and some birds I can't identify.
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