Keeping an eye on the birds

The house sparrow was top of the list last year.
The house sparrow was top of the list last year.

More than half a million people across the UK are expected to spend an hour watching and counting their garden birds for RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch.

In 2015, more than 43,000 people across Scotland took part in the survey including 1,007 in Aberdeen City and 3,368 in Aberdeenshire (a slight increase from 2014).

This year hopes are high that even more people will take part.

The world’s largest garden wildlife survey, now in its 37th year, takes place on 30 and 31 January 2016.

Since it began, it has provided valuable information about the changes in numbers of birds using our gardens in winter.

Overall more than 632,000 birds were counted in Scotland in the 2015 survey.

In Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire house sparrows took the top spot mirroring the Scottish result where house sparrows stayed at the top of the rankings.

Their long-term decline appears to have continued to slow, although numbers have dropped by 57% since the first Big Garden Birdwatch in 1979 [note 3]. They remain the most commonly spotted bird in our gardens in the UK.

In Aberdeen blackbirds pipped starlings to second place once again, but in Aberdeenshire starlings replaced chaffinches as the second most commonly spotted bird.

Although starlings moved up one place to second across Scotland in 2015 their numbers continue to decline: they have dropped by an alarming 80 per cent respectively since 1979.

As well as counting their feathered friends, RSPB Scotland is also asking participants to log some of the other wildlife they see in their gardens and green spaces.