The last weekend in January 2016 was the weekend of the RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch. Individuals, families or groups not only took part in this survey of garden birds but some shared their results me. This year there was twenty-eight sets of results sent to me. Last year it was twenty-three.
From the collation of these results, the top ten birds this year in terms of the number of gardens in which they were seen is: Chaffinch, Robin, Blue Tit, Coal Tit, Great Tit, Blackbird, House Sparrow, Dunnock, Goldfinch and in joint tenth place Collared Dove and Woodpigeon. Chaffinch was the only species recorded in every garden and in five out of the last six years it has been the top bird. The Robin in second place was recorded in all but one garden this year. Within the top ten, Coal Tit was the highest mover, moving from eighth place last year to fourth place this year. Like last year there were thirty species of bird recorded. Lesser Redpoll was recorded for the first time. On the other hand Pied Wagtail was missing for the first time.
Notable changes in the percentage of gardens in which various species appeared included: Great Spotted Woodpecker 4% last year to 21% this year, Greenfinch 13% last year to 32% this year, Goldfinch 22% last year to 43% this year and Coal Tit 61% last year to 86% this year. On the other hand Long-tailed Tit was recorded in four gardens last year and only one this year.
By far the largest total of birds seen was Chaffinch with three hundred and sixty-seven. Last year there was two hundred and twenty-seven. House Sparrow was the next most counted species with one hundred and twenty-eight, three more than last year. Notable changes in numbers from last year, as well as Chaffinch, included Great Spotted Woodpecker up from one to seven, Goldfinch up from twelve to fifty-five, Coal Tit up from forty-four to ninety-six and Long-tailed Tit down from twenty-two to seven.
To get a copy of the complete collated data for Arran for the RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch over the last six years, click here.
While the information is interesting, too much should not be read into these small samples.
It is a fun survey to do but it only covers one weekend in the year. If you enjoyed doing it, there is a garden bird watch that you can join that encourages people to record their garden bird sightings every week of 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