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Home > Bird Feeding Blog > 2017 Big Garden Birdwatch Results

2017 Big Garden Birdwatch Results

Friday, 7th April 2017

One of the most exciting annual birdwatching dates is the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch and the results are in…
Back in January this year, more than 500,000 people counted over 8 million birds in gardens throughout the UK. It’s a giant piece of citizen science and the results are shared with wildlife charities and scientists throughout Europe.

The Starling, coming in at number two on the top ten bird list, was only seen in 40% of gardens in 2016, but this year this has risen to 50%. This ten percent increase may arguably be down to garden birders taking the Starling’s plight to heart and making a little extra effort to welcome it after several years of being an unwelcome sight by some because it’s noisy and greedy. Well done to all who’ve welcomed Starlings in their bird garden – your efforts are not wasted.

Try huskfree advance with dried mealworms
Unfortunately, however, the Starling, although coming in at number two has actually dropped in numbers by 79% since the first Birdwatch in 1979, and is now a red listed bird. Although the total population of Starlings continues to fade, it’s reaching out into our gardens for food, shelter and a place to call home. And that’s why we encourage our customers to continue to help this declining species of bird by feeding suet and Huskfree Advance.

Blackbirds were seen in more than 93% of UK gardens - an increase of 29% since 2007 - and they are now number three in the Top 10 rankings. Blackbirds and other members of the thrush family are happiest when fed from the ground or bird table and are especially fond of Golden Chorus and Mealworm Crumble.
Robin Smaller

Britain’s favourite, the Robin has hit an all-time high in more than twenty years and has increased in population by 24% since 2007 and now features at a very respectable number seven in the rankings. Let’s face it, the Robin would not happily endure being much higher than number seven as it would spend most of its day fighting what it would see as territorial lookalike invaders.

Sunflower Hearts

Niger Seed
Another bird with a positive increase is the beautiful Goldfinch whose numbers have increased by 44% from 2007. Long has the Goldfinch benefitted from being fed Niger seed; however, in more recent years, it’s taken readily to Sunflower Hearts and - as these are even more readily available than Niger seed - their numbers are swelling, which is wonderful as they’re simply beautiful.

Greenfinches do not even make the top ten list having been hit hard by the Trichomonosis disease since the 1990’s, it seems to be a long way to recovery and we urge our customers to help prevent the spread of this disease by regularly cleaning their feeders, tables and bird baths with Safe4 disinfectant.

Safe 4 disinfectant

Another finch that is in decline is the Chaffinch, its numbers have gone down by 57% since 1979. It is still a very habitual garden bird – choosing to feed on seeds and spilt offerings landing beneath bird feeders - and it needs our help. In our need to keep feeding stations clean and safe we’re perhaps making it harder for Chaffinches to feed. This can easily be overcome with a hygienic ground feeder.

Unfortunately, members of the tit family such as Blue tits and Coal tits are all down by 10% on last year figures. This could be due to a very wet spell last year which has affected the feeding of their young. Fewer grubs mean less young birds survived. The natural enrichment available from nature’s larder offers a very small (but significant) window of opportunity for birds to feast on grubs and insects etc. Of course, one of the greatest challenges to upset this delicate biodiversity is climate change and the fact that ‘natural’ food may not be ready when youngsters, for example, require the high-protein of invertebrates. Luckily, we birders can offer live foods/mealworms and protein-rich soft foods such as Mealworm Crumble or Huskfree Advance with Dried Mealworms.

Mealworm Crumble

It’s not all doom and gloom; it’s been a fantastic year for Waxwings - this remarkable bird has been seen in their hundreds right across the UK even as far west as Wales and Ireland.

These results show that we need wildlife but certainly, wildlife needs us. By continuing to feed our garden birds all through the year, this will help next year’s results be even better.

Click here to view bird food range
We have a full assortment of bird food mixes and straight seeds to tempt birds into your garden and if you need accessories, we have them too – follow this link and it will take you straight through to our fantastic range

Top 10 Birds

1.   House Sparrow

2.   Starling
3.   Blackbird
4.   Blue Tit
5.   Woodpigeon
6.   Goldfinch
7.   Robin
8.   Great Tit
9.   Chaffinch
10. Long-Tailed Tit

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