Birds flourish in mild winter, survey shows.
By ANDY RICHARDS News Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org WEST Midland birdwatchers are delighted that the mild winter has benefited smaller garden birds such as long-tailed tits.
Experts, who carried out an annual national survey, said numbers had increased this year.
Warmer weather leading up to the 2016 Big Garden Birdwatch in January helped boost numbers of longtailed tits by 44 per cent on last year, bringing them into the top ten most commonly spotted birds for the first time in seven years.
Other small garden birds saw numbers increase, including coal tits, with sightings in gardens up by a quarter on 2015's count, and great tits, which were up almost 15 per cent, the survey showed.
But the RSPB, which runs the Big Garden Birdwatch, warned that many garden birds were still struggling.
More than 519,000 people took part in the birdwatching event over a weekend in January, counting well over 8.2 million birds in hour-long surveys of their garden or local park. The increase in sightings in gardens also highlights the importance of well-stocked bird feeders for some species, with long-tailed tits only recently starting to use garden feeders, the charity said.
Despite the boost in numbers for some species, others continue decline, the survey revealed.
Starlings - despite being the second most commonly recorded bird - saw another fall this year, bringing their reduction in numbers to more than 80 per cent since the survey began in 1979, while song thrushes also saw a drop, bringing their longterm decline to 89 per cent.
The bird found in most gardens, with sightings for almost nine out of ten households taking part, was the blackbird.
But it saw a ten per cent reduction in numbers on last year and a fall of almost two-fifths (38 per cent) since 1979.
The most common bird was the house sparrow again this year, with around the same numbers as 2015, though it, too, has experienced longterm declines of around 58 per cent.
After starlings, blue tits were the third most common bird in gardens this year.
Ben Andrew, RSPB wildlife adviser, said: "A lot of our favourite garden birds are struggling. Gardens or outdoor spaces are an invaluable resource - they can provide a safe habitat and enough food and water."
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|Publication:||Birmingham Mail (England)|
|Date:||Apr 8, 2016|
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