Thursday, 7 October 2010

Top 10 UK Garden Birds 2010

There has been no shortage of birds visiting my garden recently. Juvenile Goldfinches are still the birds of the moment. Perhaps I should sit down and do a bird count for an hour at the weekend. Lol… the odds are that it will be strangely quiet then ;-)

Back at the end of January I was not alone in counting visiting birds for an hour. The stats from my garden joined 280,000 others. Although surveys such as this might spot problems they are also the first step to help aid a species recovery. Our hour counting does help our birds.

Searching back my blog recently I’ve discovered I missed posting the Results for the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch for 2010. Perhaps this is old news now, but just in case you missed them below you'll find this years’ results with the stats for previous years too.



Top 10 Garden Birds 2010

1. HOUSE SPARROW with an average of 3.77 per garden
2009 – (1) with 3.70 per garden
2008 – (1) with 3.60 per garden
2007 – (1) with 4.40 per garden

2. BLACKBIRD with an average of 3.28 per garden
2009 – (3) with 2.84 per garden
2008 – (3) with 2.45 per garden
2007 – (4) with 2.26 per garden

3. STARLING with an average of 3.13 per garden
2009 – (2) with 3.21 per garden
2008 – (2) with 3.44 per garden
2007 – (2) with 3.67 per garden

4. BLUE TIT with an average of 2.58 per garden
2009 – (4) with 2.45 per garden
2008 – (4) with 2.29 per garden
2007 – (3) with 2.82 per garden

5. CHAFFINCH with an average of 2.19 per garden
2009 – (5) with 2.01 per garden
2008 – (5) with 2.15 per garden
2007 – (5) with 1.9 per garden

6. WOODPIGEON with an average of 1.91 per garden
2009 – (6) with 1.85 per garden
2008 – (6) with 1.53 per garden
2007 – (7) with 1.53 per garden

7. ROBIN with an average of 1.49 per garden
2009 – (9) with 1.36 per garden
2008 – (8) with 1.26 per garden
2007 – (9) with 1.26 per garden

8. GREAT TIT with an average of 1.39 per garden
2009 – (8) with 1.40 per garden
2008 – (9) with 1.25 per garden
2007 – (8) with 1.37 per garden

9. COLLARED DOVE with an average of 1.33 per garden
2009 – (7) with 1.44 per garden
2008 – (7) with 1.43 per garden
2007 – (6) with 1.56 per garden

10. GOLDFINCH with an average of 1.29 per garden
2009 – (10) Long-tailed tit with 1.34 per garden
2008 – (10) Goldfinch with 1.16 per garden
2007 – (10) Greenfinch with 1.20 per garden



So briefly summarising the Top 10 Garden Birds here in the UK, you can see that the House Sparrow is holding on to its No.1 spot which it has held for the last 4 years. After a drop between 2007 and 2008 numbers are slowly rising again.

Starlings have been knocked off 2nd place which they have held for the last three years. You can see their numbers are slowly dropping taking them to the No.3 spot.

In contrast Blackbird numbers have been increasing. The Blackbird takes the No.2 spot. I’m not surprised at that one. In my garden we see lots more Blackbirds over the winter.

No change in places 4-6. The Blue Tit has held on to the No.4 spot slowly increasing in numbers after the drop from 2007 to 2008. I always wondered if the snapshots of failed nest boxes I had heard about via my blog would filter down into the stats.

The Chaffinch and Woodpigeon take No.5 and No.6 spot respectively. In both cases there is an increase in numbers over the last four years.

Things go a bit up and down for spots No.7-10. The Robin takes on the charge here moving up to its highest place in the last four years slowly increasing in numbers in our gardens. It takes the No.7 spot.

No.8 goes to the Great Tit which in previous years has been in competition with the Robin for spots 8 and 9. Although keeping its No.8 spot from last year the stats for Great tits numbers in our gardens show they aren’t increasing. They have been up and down in the last few years.

No.9 spot sees another decrease in numbers. Back in 2007 the Collared Dove took the No.6 spot, then for two years it held on to No.7. I wonder if it will remain in the Top Ten birds in our gardens after the 2011 count.

For the last four years the No.10 spot in the RSPB Birdwatch has been strongly contested. Last year for the first time the Long-tailed tit took the spot. Sadly, it hasn’t held on to it slipping just out to No.12 for 2010.

Two finches have been in competition with each other for the No.10 spot in three of the last four years. The Goldfinch has taken the spot twice and takes it for 2010. That doesn’t surprise me as I have said above. I’ve heard of other bloggers having many in their gardens too.

The Greenfinch having taken the No.10 spot in 2007 has dropped back to No.13. However, more importantly, the numbers of Greenfinches per garden recorded back in 2007 was 1.20 compared to the 0.88 for 2010.

No.13 is perhaps unlucky then for the Greenfinch. It will be interesting to see how the RSPB plans to help bring numbers back up. I suspect the commonly named ‘fat finch’ disease trichomonosis has a lot to do with this drop in numbers and therefore more awareness would help.

Trichomonosis is not a new disease, reports of it began back in the summer of 2005. What is known is that this disease is spread to other birds through feeding and drinking. Good hygiene with our bird feeders and baths is a must to keep it at bay. The latest advice from the RSPB is:

“If trichomonosis is suspected, it is recommended to temporarily stop putting out food, and leave bird baths dry until sick or dead birds are no longer found in the garden.

This is to discourage birds from congregating together, which may increase the potential for the disease to spread between individuals.

Wild birds can suffer from a variety of diseases from time to time. Good hygiene practice, specifically the regular cleaning of all feeders, bird baths and feeding surfaces, is an essential part of looking after garden birds and will help to lower the risk to birds of diseases in general.

No effective treatment can be administered to birds in the wild, because it is impossible to ensure that the infected individuals receive an adequate dose and that healthy birds do not pick up the medicine. Also, a positive confirmation of the disease is needed prior to starting any treatment, and this can usually only be obtained by a post mortem.”



Oh dear… my brief summary wasn’t so brief after all! I have to say I found the comparisons over the years interesting and I hope you did too.

One more stat that caught my eye was the No.11 spot which was taken by the Dunnock with a reported 1.14 per garden. I love this litle bird and I’ve been on/off working on a post on it for over a month now. I have some video footage of a juvenile being fed which I'm delighted about. It’s coming soon after some garden catch ups.

For now, I really hope you are enjoying watching the bird activity in your garden as much as I am. The RSPB page for the 2011 Big Garden Birdwatch is already up. The date has been set for the weekend of the 29/30th of January.

If you are new to the RSPB Birdwatch perhaps you could have fun (especially with children) by browsing their site and perhaps printing off an ID sheet so you know before hand what you are looking for. You might like to plan well ahead too and take part in organised events. You’ll get info on the page link above.

One final reminder before I wish you a good weekend... BBC2, 8:30-9:30, Autumnwatch begins a new 8 week series tonight with the very popular Unsprung straight after. Enjoy…

For my gardening friends and visitors I’d like to wish you a great weekend in the garden. I expect you’ll be struggling to keep up with jobs you want to do at the weekends when our weather is more unpredictable now. Have you any must do jobs planned? I really must take some penstemon cuttings… should have been last month… oops. I also need to do some weeding too before any more seeds set.

Mm…. weeds… I’ll come back to this subject ;-)

12 comments:

Midmarsh John said...

I really look forward to the video of the young Dunnock being fed.
I had one Greenfinch which looked as though it had 'finch disease' a while ago and immediately took down their feeders. So far I haven't seen any others this year.
Keeping bird baths empty in this rainy season is easier said than done. Mine is made of concrete so not easily movable.
Blackbirds have been very scarce here recently, can't think why as there were many about in the Spring.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

The House Sparrow would be a winner here too Shirl. I enjoyed reading the results. In my garden,at this time of year House Sparrow, House Finch, Northern Cardinal, Carolina Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Mourning Dove, Carolina Wren, White-breasted Nuthatch, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker are the featured birds. We still have one Ruby-throated Hummingbird cruising the flowers and feeder. There is also a Mockingbird that has come into the garden lately to claim all the berries. It comes each fall and stays as long as there are berries to eat. Have a good weekend birdwatching and getting those last chores in the garden accomplished before winter sets in. We are still in a drought here. I am mostly just watering. I don't want to plant anything new this fall since they are predicting that the weather will stay dry. Besides I can barely get a shovel into the ground.

Liz said...

Hi Shirl,

Glad to see the Sparrows are still up there, and I'm surprised their numbers have been rising, glad all the same.
I have lots of them at the moment, their numbers always swell in Autumn as the parents manage 2-3 broods a year and I end up with around 30-40, but usually by Spring their numbers are back down to 'normal' again.

Thankfully I'm yet to see any sign of the Trich in my finches, but I know Greenfinches have been hit especially hard by the virus.

The tits around here are now flocking and we have many, many LTT's around. Earlier in the week I counted a mixed flock of around 40, and the week before it even included a Chiffchaff.

Gardening jobs - bulb planting tomorrow for me! Only 400 to go... Why do I do this to myself?? My muscles are still aching from doing some digging/planting on Monday.

shirl said...

Hello John, I hope it will be worth the wait. It was lovely to watch at the time. Yes, I never thought of bird baths like yours. I guess some sort of domed lid/cover would be the only option but not very practical in theory.

Yes, I remember you had even more Blackbirds than me. It is at this time of year when the plants die down and more soil is visible that I see them running around. We have a few just now but I’m not seeing them feed under my small Acer tree as they used to. Lol… they’ve discovered the food in the hedgehog feeding station and they have been spotted running in/out the entrance. I caught one Blackbird with the camera yesterday.

Guessing you enjoyed the otters on Autumnwatch tonight. They were my favs. What about those Unsprung Starlings… just what were they like ;-)

shirl said...

Wow Lisa, what a kaleidoscope of colours you must have with your birds. I can roughly picture most of them after seeing them on other US blogs. I have heard other bloggers suggesting we can have some of your House Sparrows as you have more than enough ;-)

I’ve just Googled images of your hummingbird. What a little beauty! I find these birds fascinating. We saw them on a Caribbean hol many years ago but at that time I didn’t appreciate birds as much as I do now. I have a link to a live feeder cam in Ecuador on my header menus and often look at them late in the evening here. Quite a treat for me :-D

Thanks, wishing you a good weekend too. If I could send you some of our rain I would. I can’t ever imagine having a garden as dry as yours sounds. Our weather forecast tonight is suggesting that our Autumn rain may stay away over the weekend. Wishing you rain, sometime soon :-)

shirl said...

Hi there Liz, I agree. I didn’t realise they were slowly increasing in numbers either. I think they still have a bit to go yet to get out of the red list. Come to think of it we are getting bigger groups at the moment too. Lol… you didn’t say if you were happy with yours. I’m guessing you are :-)

Fingers crossed the Tricho stays away from your door. Oh… I do envy your LLT’s. We only get visits when it is very cold here… often snow. Just small groups (max 7) over a period of a few days with one or two visits per day. It would be lovely if they stayed longer. A Chiffchaff would be nice too :-)

Oh... I feel your pain on the bulb planting! Only 400 to go… I’m guessing… you’ll be imagining… yourselves in Holland next Spring! Perhaps by then your muscles will have recovered ;-)

Enjoy your weekend?! :-D

Layanee said...

I love all your birds Shirl. Wish I had some Blue Tits here. Lots of sparrows.

HappyMouffetard said...

Really interesting Shirl - thank you. We don't get house sparrows in our garden. we hear their chirping at the end of the road, but not here. This is the first year in the sx that we've been in the house that we have had starlings. Still, mustn't complain - this is the first garden we've had where we've had bullfinches and goldcrests :-)

Jan (Thanks For Today) said...

Hi Shirl,
I'll probably join in the Great Backyard Bird Count this winter, as I have for the past 2 yrs. As the winter approaches I get a larger variety visiting my yard...but I do get quite a lot during the summer, too. Right now, the Goldfinches are probably my most numerous, followed by Robins, Tufted Titmice, White-Breasted Nuthatches, and Chickadees. I've been seeing more Cardinals and even a Blue Jay, lately...they usually wait until it's colder. I can't wait for the Blue Birds...probably the most fun of all (for me) to watch each year. The arrive with the snow and leave in the spring...after they've had babies. Right now it's still very warm here... 70's and 80's...and my garden is still blooming. The leaves haven't yet changed and I hardly realize it's fall...although it has 'begun'. I'm gradually easing into it...still caught up in the nice weather.

shirl said...

Hi again Layanne, I’m delighted to share them with you. I love to see the birds with you too :-D

shirl said...

Hi there Happy, I like to look at the stats too. Lol… we hear chirping (and chirping) in our neighbours’ hedges. Today they are probably chatting about my empty feeders and wondering how long they will wait around ;-)

Yes, starlings can take over a little when they bring their young in. Wow… Goldcrests! Lucky you. Bullfinches too, I’d love to see them both but I guess only the Bullfinch is likely :-)

shirl said...

Hello again Jan, ah… I remember you mentioning this before. You have some wonderful birds visiting your garden. This is a yearly count with you too isn’t it?

I love to hear you and other bloggers from the US and Canada talk about how much you look forward to the Bluebirds returning. I really do enjoy seeing photos and reading of the birds that visit your garden.

Wow… it has stayed warm with you. It has been warmer here too, for this time of year, but the temps are very slowly dropping especially if the sun doesn’t get out. Enjoy your birds and counts :-D