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FLYING VISITORS; Flocks of foreigners in big Brit birdwatch.

Byline: Josh Layton

DON'T tell Ukip but a foreigner has been spotted coming over here and taking our food.

Blackcaps are warblers that usually nest in southern Germany - and many more have been seen in British gardens in a special nationwide birdwatch.

Early findings of the RSPB's Big Garden Bird Watch, which ends tomorrow, show blackcap numbers are up among the six million sightings recorded.

The survey, which asked people to list visitors spotted in their garden over an hour on the weekend of January 24-25, has so far heard from more than 200,000 birdwatchers.

Results indicate the blackcap is becoming increasingly common although it breeds in Germany and spends winter in Spain.

The RSPB says the bird, which takes its name from the male's black head, is visiting us more frequently because of food left out in gardens.

The survey also shows a rise in fieldfare PECKISH: Blackcap sightings. This large colourful thrush migrates to the UK in winter from Scandinavia, where it spends summer.

RSPB scientist Daniel Hayhow said: "It was a busy watch for many. The temperature dip meant more birds were out looking for food and water, which bodes well for lots of sightings.

"First results have shown a lot of people seem to see a high number of blackcap and fieldfare but we will have to wait until the results have been fully monitored and analysed."

The RSPB reckons 320,969 people took part in its bird survey and is hoping for a late rush of results from those yet to submit their findings.

The bird charity uses the results to work out population trends for the various species - and identify any birds that are dwindling in number.

Project manager Teresa Stoneage said: "We really mean it when we say every garden counts. "It doesn't matter if you saw one bird species or ten - it is important we know. These results shape the work we do and the species we focus on."


PECKISH: Blackcap

HIGH LIFE: Garden birds fill up at a seed feeder

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Feb 15, 2015
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