The last weekend in January was the weekend of the RSPB Bird Garden Bird Watch. Twenty seven households on Arran not only took part in this survey of garden birds but shared their results with Jim Cassels, bird recorder for the Arran Natural History Society who collated them.
The top ten birds in terms of the number of gardens that they were seen in were Chaffinch, Robin, Blue Tit. Blackbird, Great Tit, Dunnock, House Sparrow, Coal Tit, Collared Dove and Greenfinch. Only Chaffinch and Robin were reported in all gardens with Greenfinch being reported in half of them.
By far the largest total of birds seen were Chaffinch with 299. The second largest total was the gregarious House Sparrow with 148 in only 59% of the gardens. The third largest total was Blue Tit with 60 in 92% of the gardens. The total for Greenfinch was only 38. This may reflect the impact of the disease trichomonas parasite on this species.
Familiar birds like Wren and Starling were only recorded in seven and five gardens respectively. The diminutive Wren may have suffered as a result of the prolonged cold winter. On the other hand it was heartening that Yellowhammers were recorded in two gardens.