One weekend in January, something amazing happened across Scotland… Tens of thousands of people united, brought together by a shared love of the natural world. You didn’t need to be an expert, you didn’t need fancy equipment, or loads of time, all you needed was an hour, and a window. I am of course, talking about the Big Garden Birdwatch!
And the results are now IN! The first thing that stands out is just how many people joined in! An INCREDIBLE 78,066 of you took part in Scotland, that’s more than double the number of people that took part in 2020, and together we counted 1,527,163 birds! Amazing!
I can now reveal the top 10 garden birds in Scotland are:
10. Goldfinches just held on to a place in the top ten this year, falling from 6th in 2020. Just under a quarter of gardens in Scotland get a charming visit from these colourful bird.
9. Coal tits pushed their way up from 11th place last year to claim the 9th spot in our top ten. These messy eaters are often seen on feeders dropping lots of seed onto the ground as the hunt around for the best morsels.
8. Great tits come in at number 8. Just over half of you reported seeing a great tit in your garden, what a treat! Did you know the wider the black stripe on a male’s front is, the more attractive the females find him?
7. The characterful robin is our 7th most seen bird. You reported an average of 1.8 robins per garden, and 90% have robins visiting! These are highly territorial birds, so are they visiting your garden, or are they just allowing you in their patch…
6. Woodpigeons take 6th. One of the largest birds to visit our gardens, their beautiful plumage and soothing sound is often overlooked. They also do a good job of cleaning up from under the feeders!
5. First in our top five is the chaffinch! Half of you saw chaffinches during your count, they can be recognised by the male’s pinky-orange front, and their black and white tails.
4. Beautiful blackbirds are our 4th most common garden visitor, seen in 88% of gardens. Males are black all over with orange around the eye and on the beak, females have brown feathers. You often hear blackbirds rustling around in the leaf litter under hedges looking for worms.
3. Blue tits come in at number 3, up one place from last year. The striking flash of blue and yellow makes blue tits a very cheery sight to see! Over 130,000 were counted in Scotland over the weekend!
2. Just missing out on the top spot is the starling! From a distance these noisy birds can look plain, but up close their feathers are a gorgeous rainbow flecked with white.
1. The number one garden bird in Scotland is…The house sparrow! This chirpy lot have held onto their title as top of the flocks, rulers of the roost for another year running! They turned up in 71% of your gardens, with an average flock size of 5 sparrows, and over the weekend over 250,000 house sparrows were counted!
I was blown away by the number of people getting involved, it was really lovely to hear about people taking part for the first time, and to share all your excitement and brilliant photos on social media. Take a look at the full results from across the UK here, how does your garden compare?
THE GREAT GARDEN BIRDWATCH
Come Blue-tits, come Robin
Come Sparrows as well
There’s food here a-plenty
On the ground where it fell
There’s seed in the feeders
And bread on the floor
Come down and be counted
I’ve opened the door
A Chaffinch, Wood Pidgeon,
Collared Dove or a Wren;
A Goldfinch, a Dunnock –
Where are they all then?
I filled all the feeders
The birds to invite
For the Great Garden Birdwatch
I’d studied all night
Just in case a new visitor
Would stop by to see
That all of this food here
Was waiting – for free
The clock ticked and tocked
The minutes rolled by
But nary a bird
Did I see in the sky
With the hour approaching
I tried a new lure
The fat off some bacon
Would bring them for sure
But no-one came calling
That cold January day
‘Twas almost like something
Had scared them away
A full sixty minutes!
It’s really absurd
That through all of that time
Not one single bird
I then found the reason
They’d ignored seeds and fat –
In the bush near the feeders,
My neighbour’s black cat!
© Colin Mitchell
I was unable to take part this year but a week after the watch I had a sea eagle float over the trees yards from my house
Enjoyed taking part. Usually abroad at this time so miss it. Should have it at Easter too before leaves are on the trees.Our garden is a wood so no sparrows, starlings. Usually have chaffinches but not that weekend. Since January we have seen tree creeper, spotted woodpecker, dunnock, thrushes (nesting), goldfinch (a first) and a flock of redwings during the snow on the 10th February, as well as several robins, blue, great & coal tits, not to mention woodpigeons and magpies. During lockdown it has been great to have time to sit and watch what is in the garden. We've also heard owls in the afternoon.
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