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Long-Tailed Tits Fly Into The Top Ten In The 2020 Big Garden Birdwatch

Long-Tailed Tit

The results of the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch 2020 are in with a new entry making an appearance in the top 10.

Long-tailed tits flew into the top 10 most spotted garden birds after benefitting from a mild winter with recorded appearances up by 37% since 2010. The last time this adorable little bird made an appearance in the top 10 was in 2016 when it took the tenth spot. This year it fared slightly better coming in at number 9.

The RSPB’s 41st Big Garden Birdwatch 2020 took place over the weekend of the 25th to the 27th of January and almost half a million people took part counting nearly 8 million birds. The top spot was taken by the house sparrow for the seventeenth year running, while the chaffinch dropped out of the top ten making way for the long-tailed tit.

Although house sparrows and starlings were the most counted birds a closer look at the numbers show their numbers have dropped dramatically since the first Big Garden Birdwatch in 1979. House sparrow numbers are down by 53% while starlings have suffered a population decrease of 80%.

However, things may be looking up for the humble sparrow as numbers seem to be recovering with a 10% increase over the last decade.

Mild weather boosts numbers

The mild winter also gave some other birds a boost including wrens and coal tits, up from 2019 by 13% and 10% respectively. Small, insect-eating birds such as these are particularly susceptible to the cold as the food they rely on is hard to come by in frosts and snow. Milder conditions can help these species survive the winter months in much great numbers.

During cold winters birds struggle to find food in the countryside and rely more on food found in gardens. Long-tailed tits and other smaller birds have adapted to feeding on seeds and peanuts at bird tables or from hanging feeders.

The increase in the number of these smaller garden birds highlights the importance of a well-stocked bird feeder for some species. Long-tailed tits, for example, only started using garden feeders in recent years but as their behaviour has changed more people are spotting them in their gardens.

Despite this boost in numbers many other British garden favourites are struggling. Blackbirds and robins, two of our most familiar garden birds, have also been struggling with a decline in numbers respectively of 46% and 32% since 1979.

Gardens and other outdoor spaces are an invaluable resource for many species. They can provide a safe habitat and enough food and water to survive which can have a significant effect on their populations.

The full RPSB Big Garden Birdwatch 2020 top ten is as follows:

  1. House sparrow
  2. Starling
  3. Blue tit
  4. Woodpigeon
  5. Blackbird
  6. Goldfinch
  7. Great tit
  8. Robin
  9. Long-tailed tit
  10. Magpie

One Comment Long-Tailed Tits Fly Into The Top Ten In The 2020 Big Garden Birdwatch

  1. In my Cambridgeshire garden I have had more of these pretty little birds feeding and eating in groups of about 7, than any other bird. They are very tame and lovely to watch as they squeak and jump around our cherry tree

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