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Mild UK winter sees small birds flourish

It was revealed on the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch show that the small Long-tailed tit had returned to the top 10 most commonly seen garden birds for the first time in seven years.

It may not have been a white Christmas, but the plus side of a milder and more temperate winter is that small birds, who would often die out in the freezing weather, have thrived. In particular the small Long-tailed tit which returned to the top ten most commonly seen species for the first time in seven years.



Sightings of the tiny bird, which weighs little more than a fifty pence piece, rose by 44% on 2015 figures as revealed in the RSPB’s 37th Big Garden Birdwatch which saw around 519,000 people across the UK gather in their gardens and local parks to count 8.2 million birds.

“The increase in long-tailed tit sightings, along with other smaller garden birds, just goes to show that in the absence of very cold weather these species can survive the winter months in much great numbers,” said RSPB conservation scientist, Dr Daniel Hayhow.

It’s not all good news though, as some species continue to decline in the long-term, with 58% less house sparrows and 80% less starlings seen in 2016 than in 1979 when the count began. Chaffinches (-46%), greenfinches (-44%) and blackbirds (-38%) have also seen significant reductions. But there have also been increases over the same period for woodpigeon (1,052%), collared dove (305%) and coal tits (273%).



Let’s hope this warm weather remains and keeps Britain’s gardens singing till September.

Dedicated ornithologists can subsribe to Birdwatch magazine 

Images courtesy of @rspb_love_nature

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