The last weekend in January 2013 was the weekend of the RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch. Twenty five households on Arran not only took part in this survey of garden birds but shared their results me.
As in the previous two years one bird was present in all gardens, the Chaffinch. The top ten birds in terms of the number of gardens where seen were Chaffinch, Robin, Dunnock, Coal Tit, Blackbird, Great Tit, Blue Tit, House Sparrow, Greenfinch and Sparrowhawk. While Chaffinch and Robin have been number one and two in the previous two years, Dunnock and Coal Tit have moved up from seventh and sixth respectively last year to joint third this year, while Blue Tit has gone from third this year to seventh this year. For the first time Sparrowhawk made the top ten with reports from 40% of gardens.
In each of the last three years almost thirty species were seen. This year, while Treecreeper, Bullfinch, and Yellowhammer were not recorded, Great Spotted Woodpecker turned up for the first time. Parties of Long-tailed Tit gave particular pleasure this year with records from nearly one in five gardens.
By far the largest total of birds seen was Chaffinch with three hundred and seven. There were some quite marked changes including Coal Tit increasing from thirty seven in 2011 to one hundred and forty one in 2013 and House Sparrow decreasing from one hundred and forty eight in 2011 to sixty in 2013.
While the information is interesting, too much should not be read into these small samples from three years.
If you would like a copy of the complete collated data for Arran for the RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch, please get in touch.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