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.