Which birds are flocking to your garden?

PUBLISHED: 11:45 12 January 2006 | UPDATED: 09:27 06 May 2010

Greenfinches

Greenfinches

A SURVEY is being launched to find out who is at the top of the pecking order among garden birds. The Big Garden Bird Watch is on the weekend of January 28 and 29 and is being organised by the RSPB from their headquarters in Sandy. Thousands of people nat

Blackbirds are regular visitors to the county’s gardens

A SURVEY is being launched to find out who is at the top of the pecking order among garden birds.

The Big Garden Bird Watch is on the weekend of January 28 and 29 and is being organised by the RSPB from their headquarters in Sandy.

Thousands of people nationwide are expected to take part in the survey to find out which birds are the most common visitors to our gardens and which species are struggling to survive.

Last year, 5,575 people took part in Bedfordshire alone, with 400,000 contributing across the UK by counting six million birds in 210,000 gardens.

Although still second in the county list, numbers of starlings are falling rapidly

House sparrows were the most common bird in Bedfordshire gardens with starlings close behind and blackbirds third.

The starling, beaten to the top spot last year in Bedfordshire gardens, has seen its numbers plummet from 15 per garden to an average of 4.3, a decline of 71 per cent.

The house sparrow, with an average of 4.8 per garden, has declined by 52 per cent since 1979 when an average of 10 birds were seen in gardens.

After a slight increase in recent years, song thrush numbers dropped in 2005, and for the first time this red-listed species dropped out of the top 20 garden birds. Back in 1979 it held seventh place.

Louise Bates of the RSPB said: "Big Garden Birdwatch is great fun and is an ideal activity for the whole family. It's the perfect way to relax and to learn about birds and conservation."

To take part, count the birds in your garden or local park for one hour during the weekend of January 28 and 29 and record the highest number of each bird species.

For further information and on-line resources to help with the bird watch, visit the RSPB website on www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch where you can get an on-line survey form.

Alternatively, Big Garden Birdwatch forms can be obtained by phoning 0870 600 7108. The hotline number will be operational until January 25.

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