Blue tit in top spot for Big Garden Birdwatch

By Richard Wright

Thursday, March 27, 2014

 

Blue tit in top spot for Big Garden Birdwatch

The blue tit was the most common bird in Isle of Wight gardens according to the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch. Picture courtesy of Sue Tranter.

THE BLUE tit is still 'top of the tree’ on the Isle of Wight.

Nearly 1,500 people who took part in this year’s RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch recorded more blue tits than any other single species.

In second place was the house sparrow, which knocked the blackbird into third spot.

The RSPB said the rise in numbers of blue tits observed on the Island echoed a national trend.

That also applied to goldfinches, which nationally have climbed another place since last year, and now perch at number seven in both the national and local charts.

The robin, which has been as high as number seven in the past ten years, has dropped back nationally to number ten and is at number nine on the Island.

Scientists believe the weather has played a key role in the ups and downs in this year’s top ten as many of the birds were recorded in lower numbers in gardens due to the mild conditions.

Some species, such as blue tits, were likely to be more reliant on food provided in gardens than others, such as blackbirds, which could easily find their favoured foods like worms and insects in the countryside.

Just ten years ago, goldfinches were in 14th position, but scientists believe that the increase in people providing food like nyjer seed and sunflower hearts in gardens, may have contributed to their steady rise to number seven.

However, the continuing declines of some species are of greater concern. Numbers of starlings and song thrushes have dropped by an alarming 84 and 81 per cent respectively since the Birdwatch began in 1979.

Both species are on the UK 'red list’ meaning they are of the highest conservation concern.

But the decline of the house sparrow population appears to have slowed, the charity said.

Reporter: richardw@iwcpmail.co.uk

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by Dave Coombs

27th March 2014, at 15:37:20

Domestic cats do indeed predate birds and small mammals, before domestic cats, they were predated by wild cats, of which there are virtually none left in the UK.

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by James McAdder

27th March 2014, at 12:29:56

Saw this article and though "I bet there is someone whining about cats", and sure enough there is.

FYI, from the RSPB website:-

"Despite the large numbers of birds killed, there is no scientific evidence that predation by cats in gardens is having any impact on bird populations UK-wide. This may be surprising, but many millions of birds die naturally every year, mainly through starvation, disease, or other forms of predation. There is evidence that cats tend to take weak or sickly birds which would be unlikely to survive".

So not because there are "too many cats around", then.....

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by Colin Barton

27th March 2014, at 12:21:13

Too many cats around that is the reason!

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by Susannah Thornton

27th March 2014, at 09:41:37

Typo - should read "of"

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by Susannah Thornton

27th March 2014, at 09:41:00

I've noticed there are not as many birds in my garden over the past couple f years. Despite having a bird table and bath they don't seem to frequent it as much. Such a shame. Even when out in the countryside I have noticed the bird population to be less and less in recent times.

Any views or opinions presented in the comments above are solely those of the author and do not represent those of the Isle of Wight County Press.

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