Concerns over dramatic fall in garden bird numbers

By Mathew Beech

Credit: Vytauto

The RSPB has revealed that the much-loved Starling and House Sparrow are fast disappearing from our gardens.

Results from the Big Garden Birdwatch 2012, which took place at the start of the year, have shown a near 80 per cent fall in the number of Starlings people are spotting.

The population of the birds is feared to have fallen to less than a third of what it was thirty years ago, while numbers of the House Sparrow have also shown a dramatic fall.

RSPB scientist Mark Eaton said: “The unmistakable flash of the glossy purple green starling is a familiar sight for many, but sadly it seems their numbers have dropped even further in this year’s survey.

 “We’ve been monitoring this decline and encouraging people to step up and help birds like starlings but we will also be conducting some scientific research into the exact reasons for these declines.

“It would be a tragedy if the numbers continue to plummet and we will do all we can to help stop this happening.”

It seems as though the national trend for fewer Starlings and Sparrows is echoed here in Brighton.

Mr Wood from Bevendean, has been doing his best to help the birds, but has seen other specifies, such as Blue Tits, dominate the garden scene.

The 75-year-old, who used to be a member of the RSPB, said: “There are no sparrows or Starlings in my garden at all and I haven’t seen one for the last ten years or so.

“It has been quite dramatic but I do tend to see more ‘titty’ birds and I do put food out every day.

“It has been quite a mild winter, so maybe they haven’t had to come into the gardens as much for the food, but it would be sad to see them disappear.”

The survey hasn’t been all bad for our avian friends, with the number of Goldfinches breaking into the top ten for the first time, while Blue Tits have deposed Blackbirds as the third most common bird.

Sarah Houghton, RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch project manager, said: “Even in mild winters people see a lot of birds in their gardens.

“It was nine million this year, so the survey is really helpful to get a ‘snapshot’ during the winter months.

“It is great that so many people use Big Garden Birdwatch as an annual activity to monitor what is happening in their gardens.”

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