The last weekend in January was the weekend of the RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch. Thirty five households on Arran not only took part in this survey of garden birds but shared their results me. A similar number had taken part in 2011.
One bird was present in all gardens in both years, the Chaffinch. Indeed the top five birds in terms of the number of gardens where seen were the same both years, namely Chaffinch, Robin, Blue Tit, Blackbird and Great Tit. In both years almost thirty species were seen. In 2012, while the following were not recorded - Yellowhammer and Common Gull, the following were added - Buzzard, Herring Gull, Grey Heron, Woodcock and Barn Owl.
By far the largest total of birds seen was Chaffinch with 331 in 2011 and 415 in 2012. The second largest total was the gregarious House Sparrow with 148 in 2011 and 126 in 2012 in only around half of the gardens.
From 2011 to 2012 here was an increase in the number of the following species: Coal Tit from 37 to 120, Starling from 8 to 82 and Greenfinch from 45 to 75, although 42 of these were recorded in one garden. On the other hand there was a decrease from 2011 to 2012 for Song Thrush from one in three gardens to one in five gardens.
Familiar birds like Wren and Starling were only recorded in around one in five gardens.
While the information is interesting too much should not be read into the samples from two years. To download a copy of the complete collated data for Arran for the RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch, please click summary.
This survey was over one weekend in the year. There is a garden bird watch that you can join that encourages people to record their garden bird sightings throughout the year, the British Trust for Ornithology Garden BirdWatch (GBW). To find out more about the BTO Garden BirdWatch visit the website http://www.bto.org/volunteer-surveys/gbw