The not-so-big garden birdwatch

Where have all our garden birds gone? Ten years ago there were 17 species we could expect to see on any winter day in the garden. Not that we’d often see all 17 on the same day, but none of them would have been a surprise. They were: Wren, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Siskin, Blackcap, Dunnock, Robin, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, House Sparrow, Starling, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Collared Dove, Woodpigeon.

Now, the only species we see regularly are Blue Tit, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird and Woodpigeon.

In the whole of this month I have recorded only 14 species, and they include three that are unusual in our garden and may not be seen again for months: Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker and Goldcrest. Finches other than Goldfinch have long since disappeared. And so far this year we have seen neither Siskin nor Blackcap.

So my ‘Big Garden Birdwatch’ today has yielded just six species: the five listed in my second paragraph, plus Collared Dove. And those six were spread over more than the hour that the Big Garden Birdwatch specifies.

It’s very sad.


4 thoughts on “The not-so-big garden birdwatch

  1. my thoughts the same Stephen
    moved to a new place, and now even feeding birds
    and still only robins blackbirds hedge sparrows
    and many Corvids, just one Wren and one Green Woodpecker
    in 3 months of watching

  2. Almost the same here. The only additional ones were the Great Tit (Black Cap, I suppose) and one Parrot that was after the nuts and fruity fat balls. I normally have lots of starlings, but I have taken away their favourite food (wire worms) they don’t come back. The food lasts a lot longer so obviously there are fewer birds. Even in the colder weather the numbers have not increased. I suspect it is the meat eaters, like crows, rooks, jackdaws, and magpies that are killing the smaller ones. Or domestic cats, of which there are several doing the rounds after dark. This year I have had several empty egg shells strewn across the garden; lots of nests started but either not finished or robbed.
    Let’s see what the RSPB makes of their survey.
    Yes, It’s sad.

    1. Song Thrush numbers have plummeted in recent years. Whereas once it was a regular visitor to the garden, we now see one only about twice a year. I am currently hearing one singing in the morning somewhere nearby. The loss of these birds is undoubtedly due in part to them consuming slugs and snails that have eaten the slug pellets put down by gardeners who value their cultivated flowers more than their wild birds, an environmentally unacceptable priority in my view.

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