Lancashire birders report in record numbers

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Birdwatching / credit @rossco_47

The world’s largest garden wildlife survey has already revealed a record number of submissions across the North West.

In Lancashire alone, the RSPB have already received beyond 11,000 reports of different bird sightings across 4,537 parks, school grounds and gardens compared to last year’s 10,730. 

The recorded sightings are all part of a mass citizen science project called the Big Garden Birdwatch, which is designed to give conservationists across the UK a greater understanding of how smaller birds are faring. 

Carol Whitmore, an RSPB garden bird advisor, said: “The record number of reports and participants just demonstrates the interest and concern that people across Lancashire have for birds. 

“I think with lockdown and everything, more and more people have started to acknowledge the natural world, and actually appreciate the wildlife that lives in it.

“It is essential that as many people as possible interact with surveys like this, so that we can gather important scientific information that will hopefully help us reverse the decline of many of our British birds.”

The survey involved members of the public spending an hour at the weekend counting and identifying as many different species of birds as possible that landed in their gardens. This provides experts with an unrivalled amount of data to appropriately assess which birds are thriving, surviving, or under threat. 

Simon Wilkinson, RSPB Conservation Scientist, said: “the annual survey helps us better understand how things are changing and indicates to us how to help our wildlife in such a wavering environment.

“Over the project’s lifetime we’ve been able to charter the rise and falls of a multitude of garden birds. We’ve studied the rising fortunes of coal tits and blue tits, alongside the disturbing decline of house sparrows and starlings.”

The house sparrow has been the most commonly spotted bird for the last three years running, followed by starlings and blue tits. And yet a closer look at the surveys data reveals their numbers have stooped by 53% since the project began in 1979, while the number of starlings has dropped by 80%. 

However, Mr Wilkinson believes there is still reason to be optimistic. He said: “In the last decade the number of both species has actually risen by 10% across all surveys,which indicates to us that a partial recovery may be happening. It shows that the work we are doing is proof that projects like this are truly valuable to conservation.”

For a full round-up of all the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch results, and to see which birds were visiting gardens where you live, visit Big Garden BirdWatch.


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