House sparrows seen most often in Scotland’s gardens

The birds were seen in seven in ten gardens around Scotland on the weekend of the RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch.

House sparrows seen most often in Scotland’s gardens

House sparrows remained the birds seen most often in the nation’s gardens in a weekend survey, new research has revealed.

The birds were seen in seven in ten gardens around Scotland on the weekend of the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch, which was held over the last weekend in January.

Starlings were in second place, followed by chaffinches, blue tits and blackbirds.

More than 33,000 people across Scotland spent an hour watching the birds that visit their garden or outdoor space as part of the initiative, counting nearly half a million of them.

The survey also found smaller birds such as wrens and long-tailed tits were seen in greater numbers in gardens across the country due to the milder winter.

Reports of long-tailed tits in gardens in Scotland were up by 21% on the previous year, which boosted them into the top 10, while wrens were up by 14%.

Keith Morton, senior species policy officer at RSPB Scotland, said: “The results of Big Garden Birdwatch are a great way of seeing how individuals counting birds in their garden can add up to some really impressive citizen science.

“You telling us you saw a long-tailed tit in your garden for the first time helps us work out how they are doing across the country.

“The huge number of people that take part in the Birdwatch all over Scotland helps us get a better picture of our wildlife, so thank you to everyone who joined in, we couldn’t do it without you.”

The other birds in the top 10 were goldfinches in sixth place followed by wood pigeons, robins, great tits and long tailed tits.

In a separate event, the nation’s schoolchildren took part in the RSPB’s Big Schools Birdwatch throughout the first half of the spring term.

More than 6,000 pupils and their teachers spent an hour counting the birds in Scottish school grounds.

Blackbirds were seen at more than 80% of schools and took the top spot, followed by starlings, with the carrion crown in third place.

Anne McCall, director of RSPB Scotland, said: “It is always uplifting to see how many people get involved with Big Garden Birdwatch, it shows a real connection between us and nature.

“By increasing our awareness of the wildlife in our gardens, we can appreciate it more, and learn how to take care of ourselves and the environment.

“We all benefit from having a connection with nature and whether you have a garden, balcony, or just a view of a street tree, in these unusual times it has never felt more valuable to be able to spend a bit of time noticing the wildlife you can see from your window.”