Posted: Thursday 27 March 2014
by Kate Bradbury
The RSPB published results of the 2014 Big Garden Birdwatch this week. As predicted, the mild winter weather appeared to have an impact on the number of birds visiting our gardens...
The RSPB published results of the 2014 Big Garden Birdwatch (BGBW) this week. As predicted, the mild winter weather appeared to have an impact on the number of birds visiting our gardens, with numbers of some species falling while others appeared to do rather well.
The blue tit came in at number two, its highest position since the first BGBW in 1979. But the previous holder of the number two spot – the blackbird – is now at number four. The robin, too, dropped down to number 10.
I sat patiently for an hour waiting for birds to arrive in my garden during BGBW weekend, and saw nothing. I presumed there was so much natural food in the local park and surrounding gardens that the birds didn’t need to visit my feeders. I was probably right: the combination of the long hot summer and mild winter ensured that not only were there plenty of berries and hips for birds to eat, but that the soil was soft enough for blackbirds, song thrushes, redwings and robins to forage for earthworms and grubs without relying on gardeners. Good for the birds, but a bit boring for us.
There were plenty of robins, blackbirds and redwings in my mum’s garden this winter, however. That was, until they had completely stripped her rowan tree of berries and moved on to find another. If we can’t tempt birds into our gardens with feeders filled with an array of nutritious peanuts, seed mixes and suet products, then perhaps we should look to this natural food the birds seem so keen on.
Rowan, hawthorn, holly, dog rose, ivy and apple all provide a long season of fruit for birds and other wildlife. If we all grow an array of berry-bearing food as well as provide alternatives for beloved garden birds, then maybe the birds will be more likely to turn up during the Big Garden Birdwatch. Whatever the weather.
Many thanks to Nigel Blake / RSPB Images for kind permission to use their lovely image of a blue tit. View the full results of the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 2014.
28/03/2014 at 09:38
So those sparrows I was going on about on Wednesday, they're do well then? I look forward to more squawking in the undergrowth.
09/04/2014 at 09:21
Well they're still declining, but I read somewhere (RSPB/BTO?) that the decline has slowed slightly... but yeh, you're stuck with them for a while Bugman!