Sparrows back on top in the race for space on Suffolk’s garden feeders

PUBLISHED: 00:01 02 April 2020 | UPDATED: 09:37 02 April 2020

House sparrow, the most common bird seen in our gardens. Picture: RAY KENNEDY/RSPB

House sparrow, the most common bird seen in our gardens. Picture: RAY KENNEDY/RSPB

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House sparrows were the most common bird seen in gardens around Suffolk – and the country as a whole – during this year’s Big Garden Birdwatch organised by the RSPB.

Great tit and Blue tit feeding from small suet ball feeder, in garden. Picture: NIGEL BLAKE/RSPBGreat tit and Blue tit feeding from small suet ball feeder, in garden. Picture: NIGEL BLAKE/RSPB

It came at the top of the league table followed by blue tits and wood pigeons.

More than 10,000 people in Suffolk took part in the birdwatch at the end of January – adding their findings to almost half a million people from across the country who sent in results to the RSPB.

The latest results from the birdwatch have revealed smaller birds such as long-tailed tits, wrens and coal tits were seen in greater numbers than in 2019, thanks to the milder winter.

Now in its 41st year, the Big Garden Birdwatch is a chance for people of all ages to count the number of birds that visit their garden helping the RSPB build up a picture of how they are doing. This year, almost half a million people across the country including 10,017 in Suffolk took part counting nearly 8 million birds.

The robin remains a common garden visitor. Picture: ANDY HAY/RSPBThe robin remains a common garden visitor. Picture: ANDY HAY/RSPB

The event held over the last weekend in January revealed the house sparrow was in the number one spot in Suffolk, whilst there was an increase in garden sightings of long-tailed tits, wrens, and coal tits, three of the smallest species to visit our gardens. The milder weather we experienced at the start of the year appears to have helped populations of these species as small birds are more susceptible to spells of cold weather.

Daniel Hayhow, RSPB Conservation Scientist, said: “Small birds suffer during long, cold winters but the warmer January weather this year appears to have given species such as the wren and long-tailed tit a boost.

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“Over the survey’s lifetime, we’ve seen the increasing good fortunes of birds such as the coal tit and goldfinch.”

Beccy Speight, the RSPB’s Chief Executive, said: “We know that for many people, garden birds provide an important connection to the wider world and bring enormous joy. These are difficult and unsettling times for all of us, but we hope that nature can provide a welcome respite in whichever form and wherever you may encounter it.

“Despite everything that’s going on in the world, nature is still doing its thing. Birds are singing and blossom is bursting. Watching wildlife, whether from a window or a balcony or even online, can offer many of us hope, joy and a welcome distraction, and so we are keen to help you carry on connecting with the natural world.

“Over the coming days and weeks, we will be helping people to share their wildlife encounters and provide ideas for things you can do for wildlife close to home. Follow RSPB England on Twitter and Facebook.”

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