The last weekend in January 2022 was the weekend of the RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch. This was the forty-third year of this event. Households not only took part in this survey of garden birds, but some shared their results with me. This year there were twenty-six sets of Arran results sent to me, compared to thirty-five last year and twenty-two the year before.
The weather that weekend was dominated by two named storms one on the Saturday followed by one on the Sunday. This was obviously commented on by participants and some people stated that they had not taken part because of the stormy conditions in their gardens with feeders getting blown down.
While several gardens reported twelve or more species, one household recorded only one. Two gardens recorded more than two hundred birds in their allocated hour. In total, thirty-two species were reported which is one more than last year. The following species were recorded this year but not last year Brambling, Grey Heron, Grey Wagtail, Lesser Redpoll and Yellowhammer. The last time Yellowhammer was recorded in a garden during the RSPB survey was 2017, for Lesser Redpoll it was 2016 and Brambling has never been recorded. This year Brambling was recorded in four of the survey gardens. Comparing species that were seen in both years, Siskin went from being recorded in 2% of gardens last year to 34% this year and similarly Goldfinch went from being recorded in 25% of gardens last year to 61% this year. On the other hand, Dunnock decreased from 82% last year to 61% this year.
This year Robin was the only bird to be reported in every garden, while Chaffinch had the largest total of birds, namely 359. House Sparrow had the second largest total, 286 and Starling the third largest total, 107.
From the collation from all the gardens, the top ten birds this year in terms of the number of gardens in which they were seen are: Robin, Chaffinch, Blue tit, Great Tit, House Sparrow, Coal Tit, Blackbird, Goldfinch, Dunnock and Collared Dove. Goldfinch replaces crow from the top ten for last year. The first seven of these species have been in the top ten in slightly different orders for the last ten years.
For a collation of all the Arran data from the Big Garden Birdwatch for the last five 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 enjoy your garden birds, there is a survey that you can join that encourages people to record their garden bird sightings every week of the year. It is called the British Trust for Ornithology Garden BirdWatch (GBW). To find out more about the BTO Garden BirdWatch visit the website