Birdwatch News Archive
Song Thrush has had a worryingly bad breeding season according to the RSPB's data. Photo: Steve Young (www.birdsonfilm.com).
Garden birds lose out
Posted on: 16 Aug 2012
An RSPB survey has revealed that more of our breeding birds may have been badly affected by the continuous rains of the spring and summer.
The results of the wildlife charity's annual Make Your Nature Count survey show the number of gardens with Song Thrush chicks in them this spring was down by as much as 27 per cent compared to last year.
Sightings of Blackbird, Robin and Song Thrush chicks were all down on last year. The RSPB says the drop may be a result of wet and cold weather in the early part of the breeding season making it harder for adult birds to find enough food for their chicks. With adult birds spending longer away from the nest searching for food, chicks would also have been more exposed to the cold.
More than 78,000 people took part in the survey during the first week of June and logged the birds and other wildlife species they saw in their gardens, the results of which have just been released. House Martin was down by almost a quarter and Common Swift by around 10 per cent compared to last year. Common Swift is already on the Amber list of conservation concern, and there are worries that it has been a devastating breeding season in Britain this year.
Dr Daniel Hayhow, RSPB Conservation Scientist, says: "Each of the 78,000 people involved in Make Your Nature Count has helped to give us data on a scale that just wouldn’t be possible if we tried to collect it in any other way. It’s really useful as a snapshot of how UK wildlife fared this summer and a number of species may have had tough time in the cold and wet weather.”
Last year Make Your Nature Count results reported a good year for breeding Song Thrushes and this year’s results confirmed that, with sightings of adults of the species up by 12 per cent on last year. Adult Blackbirds were also seen in good numbers, and were recorded as the most widespread bird across Britain, being seen in more than 90 per cent of the gardens surveyed.
To find out more about Make Your Nature Count visit www.rspb.org.uk/naturecount or to get tailored advice on how to make your garden a great habitat for wildlife visit the ‘Homes for Wildlife’ part of the RSPB website at www.rspb.org.uk/hfw.
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