The last weekend in January 2017 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 with me. This year there was twenty-five sets of results sent to me. This was similar to the number received in recent years.
From the collation of these results, the top ten birds this year in terms of the number of gardens in which they were seen are: Chaffinch, Robin, Blue Tit, Blackbird, Coal Tit, Great Tit, Dunnock, House Sparrow, Goldfinch and in tenth place Pheasant. The top nine have been the top nine in slightly different orders for the last three years. Pheasant is making its first appearance in the top ten this year replacing Woodpigeon from last year. Chaffinch and Robin were the only species recorded in every garden during the survey. Chaffinch has been recorded in every garden in six out of the last seven years. Robin has been recorded in every garden in two of the last three years. This year in the survey thirty-three species were recorded in Arran gardens. That is three more than in each of the previous two years. Comparing this year with last year Blackcap, Bullfinch, Mistle Thrush and Pied Wagtail were additions and Lesser Redpoll was an omission.
Notable changes in number of gardens in which species were recorded was Great Spotted Woodpecker went from six last year to just one this year and Song thrush went from seven to four.
By far the largest total of birds seen was Chaffinch with three hundred and thirty-nine. Last year Chaffinch total was three hundred and sixty-seven. House Sparrow was the next most counted species with one hundred and fifty-eight, thirty-three more than last year. Coal Tit was the third most numerous at one hundred and seventeen, twenty one more than last year.
For a collation of the all the Arran data from the Big Garden Birdwatch for the last three years visit this webpage
While this 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
Enjoy your birding