I am confused.
The results are in for the 2014 RSPB Bird Watch, and I don’t understand.
A few years ago, the result showed a decline in Sparrows.
Not in my garden. The hedge out front and next door’s buddlia bush has been teeming with them, and as for the shrubbery outside the Post Office and Doctor’s Surgery, well, their numbers are so high, I guess Sparrows have now all migrated here.
Two years ago, the concern was for Starlings.
We had seen those miraculous swarms of starlings making their unique shapes in the sky as they moved, rippled and undulated as one, changing direction with the ease of a flag in the breeze. On my mother’s last visit, we counted over 20 on our back lawn.
This year, it would appear that Blackbird numbers have diminished.
We have been living here for almost 7 years, and for 5 of those years, have seen two pairs of blackbirds raise 3 if not 4 broods of 2 or 3 chicks in each of those years.
We were talking to three elderly ladies on a local walk recently, and the subject of garden birds came up. One was stunned that I replenished our bird feeders once a week (water whenever necessary) . She fills hers every day.
This same lady, who lives less than a mile away as the crow flies, said that she had noticed how few gold and green finches were now visiting her garden. I told her that was because they were all coming into mine, as I had counted 17 and 9 respectively at one time on our lawn.
We compared the foods we were putting out: fat balls, wild bird seed, peanuts, nyjer seed, sunflower hearts, and she also puts out the wormy type things, coconut shells and bread, so we concluded that it was nothing to do with a ready food supply. She also has a dog, a jack russell, which is about half the size of Maggie. She lives in a terraced house whereas we live in a detached bungalow, but both properties have fields in close proximity.
So I am still confused. Perhaps the majority of people who took part in the RSPB survey live in towns, or recorded their ‘Hour’ in a busy park rather than their private gardens.
We have the luxury of enjoying the birds in a variety of surroundings (garden, woods, rivers, towns) .
As to why so many species frequent our garden more than others? I really have no answer to that, apart from they are welcome (and safe) here.