From Wildlife Extra:
Will Britain’s garden birds stay for winter?
Last winter Britain’s gardens were unusually quiet, with their usual visiting birds largely absent. Blackbirds, robins, song thrushes and chaffinches were among the birds that chose to spent their time foraging in the countryside instead of in gardens due to the abundance of food available there.
But a quiet winter was followed by a busier spring and summer, as the warmer weather enjoyed by the UK in 2014 meant that bird numbers were able to pick up quickly, according to findings from the British Trust for Ornithology’s (BTO) Garden BirdWatch.
Now the BTO are keen to find out whether the birds will stay for the colder months, or whether they will once again prefer to spend autumn and winter in the countryside rather than in gardens.
The Trust rely on recordings taken down by their Garden BirdWatch volunteers, who over the past year have provided valuable data that revealed average robin numbers have been higher this year than in the previous two years. BTO say that this could be due to a mild winter and a good breeding season.
Numbers of great tit were also seen to have rapidly increased in May, reaching their highest average numbers in September than in the past seven years. Other birds that were seen to do well in gardens over the summer months included dunnocks, blue tits, and great spotted woodpeckers.
BTO theorise that the birds might return to the countryside for the winter, as it seems that this year might be another good year for wild berries. In order to find out, they are encouraging people to become involved with their BirdWatch volunteer programme. Kate Risely, Garden BirdWatch organiser, explains: “Our volunteers provide us with invaluable data about what is happening in gardens. Without them, we won’t be able to see how our birds fare this winter. Anyone who spend a few minutes each week watching what the birds get up to in their garden is already doing enough to take part in the BTO Garden BirdWatch.”
Those interested in volunteering are encouraged to get in touch with BTO, and they will receive a free magazine and information pack on how to take part. Email firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 01842 750 050, or write to GBW, BTO, The Nunnery, Thetford, Norfolk, IP24 2PU.