No surprises this year, but I was delighted to see 3x Dunnocks and 2x Robins for my one hour’s bird count for the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 2014. Naturally, numbers were down as expected but they were however a reasonable reflection of bird species visiting the garden just now so I was happy :-)
Sunday, February 16th is the deadline for submitting your bird/wildlife count results. I successfully added my count, without any trouble, but it seems that the website has been running a tad slow with the thousands of people helping with this survey at the moment and the RSPB are asking everyone to bear with them. I'd guess, by now things are working fine with the results rush over :-)
As my tally counter shows, a respectable 36 birds popped in to my garden during my count. That’s up on the 22 birds I had been expecting – but I should have looked at last year’s blog post instead of relying on my memory as there were 36 birds last year too! However, taking the weather in to account, last year’s snow should have seen more numbers than this year’s rain so the 2014 result is good :-)
Sightings submitted, what happens now?
“Our scientists will add all your sightings together with those from thousands of other gardens right across the country and find out how birds and other wildlife are doing.RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 2014
Once this has all been checked and pieced together, we’ll be able to monitor trends and understand how different birds and other wildlife are faring. Then, together, we can help those in danger and find the best ways to give nature a home.
Look out for the results in March.”
I suspected a Sparrowhawk watching the garden for my count with the heavy rain and sleet showers. The birds were a tad nervous too so I suspect they did too. Sparrowhawks do seem to appear on days like this, I've noticed this through my gardenwatching years.
So, the bird tables were unusually quiet for my count with the birds favouring hidden feeders like the little one in my Acer tree where the network of arching branches which made for safer feeding perhaps. If you missed my last blog post follow the link and you’ll see the locations of my bird feeders. My bird count for 2014 is in the image below.
Looking between the images above of the birdwatch results for 2014 and 2013 above, you can see how bright the day was last year and how relatively easy the birds would have been to see and count. It really was a dark morning for this year’s count (taken 0950 – 1050) and I suspect little brown birds like the House Sparrows might have be missed in gardens with the same light conditions.
Dunnocks, could very easily have been missed in bird counts as they travel undercover through plants like shrubs, ornamental grasses and around plants in pots too. They skirt round the edges of lawns and corners of gardens – see previous blog post on the Dunnock for help in ID for this bird. I have a nice short close-up video of the Dunnock there too :-)
The Dunnock, is a bird that the RSPB want to see increase in numbers but I might take a guess that perhaps they are in more gardens than figures from the count suggest which is good news for this bird that has a very interesting hidden life.
There are concerns on Starling numbers declining too and most noticeably in my garden, the grated cheese on offer usually found by some sort of radar in this bird wasn’t working for once! No Starlings were sighted in my garden for my count and that doesn’t sound good for this bird at all – I wonder if other gardens found the same. I hope not :-(
Wishing you all a good weekend, do you have any garden plans? I’ve got a bird table job to do and an edge finishing on my new wildlife pond :-)
This post was published by Shirley for shirls gardenwatch in January 2014.