Top 10 UK Garden Birds 2009

For anyone, from the record breaking over half a million people from the UK, who took part with the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch in January 2009 the results are now out. I am guessing these lists may be of interest to others in Europe and other parts of the world too. Below I have listed this year’s Top Ten with comparison figures for 2008 and 2007. You can also see my Top Ten visiting garden birds in 2009 and 2008.

Top 10 Garden Birds 2009

1. HOUSE SPARROW with an average of 3.70 per garden
2008 – (1) with 3.60 per garden
2007 – (1) with 4.40 per garden

2. STARLING with an average of 3.21 per garden
2008 – (2) with 3.44 per garden
2007 – (2) with 3.67 per garden

3. BLACKBIRD with an average of 2.84 per garden
2008 – (3) with 2.45 per garden
2007 – (4) with 2.26 per garden

with an average of 2.45 per garden
2008 – (4) with 2.29 per garden)
2007 – (3) with 2.82 per garden)

with an average of 2.01 per garden
2008 – (5) with 2.15 per garden)
2007 – (5) with 1.9 per garden

6. WOODPIGEON with an average of 1.85 per garden
2008 – (6) with 1.53 per garden
2007 – (7) with 1.53 per garden

7. COLLARED DOVE with an average of 1.44 per garden
2008 – (7) with 1.43 per garden
2007 – (6) with 1.56 per garden

with an average of 1.40 per garden
2008 – (9) with 1.25 per garden
2007 – (8) with 1.37 per garden

9. ROBIN with an average of 1.36 per garden
2008 – (8) with 1.26 per garden
2007 – (9) with 1.26 per garden

with an average of 1.34 per garden

(The first time in the survey’s 30-year history, the Long-tailed tit has appeared in top ten)
2008 – (10) Goldfinch with 1.16 per garden
(The first year the Goldfinch had appeared in top ten)
2007 – (10) Greenfinch with 1.20 per garden

The House Sparrow takes the top spot once again so I have used the same photo as last year. The rest of the top ten is pretty much the same as last year with a little shuffle around plus the new entry at number ten. Looking back to the last two years number ten looks like it’s the spot to watch!

I guess I’m not too surprised that the Long-tailed tits just made it into the top ten after seeing visits in my garden for the very first time this year and hearing of them in other gardens too. They were such wonderful visitors to see. However the RSPB say: “This highly sociable species increased by an astonishing 88% from last years count.”

Now that is interesting but here’s another thought. The RSPB say: We believe this pleasant increase is because this insect-eating bird has adapted to feeding on seeds and peanuts at birdtables and from hanging feeders. This result highlights perfectly the positive impact that our feeding and bird care can have on some birds.”

The RSPB also say: Thanks to the cold snap in January, some birds came into our gardens from the wider countryside. The two species of winter thrushes, redwing and fieldfare, were found in three times as many gardens as previous years. During the Birdwatch, many people often notice groups of these beautiful thrushes flying overhead, but this year, with all that ice and snow about, they were hungry and small groups came in to our gardens, joining the blackbirds munching on apples and other food we put out.”

Once again, I would agree with that as my garden had visits from the Mistle Thrush and a small group of Fieldfares. They did give me a challenge trying to identify them on dark mornings. Again new first time visitors there too! You can see the differences in my montage below. Left to right is the Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush and the Fieldfare.

So… what about the next ten? Again, many familiar faces to my small Scottish garden with the exception of the Feral pigeon. The others have all visited although the Magpie has just looked down from a neighbour’s tree. Oh… but I just had to smile when I saw who made it to number twenty one!

The Pheasant took the 21st spot and once again it has made it to my garden too. So strange to see… but I have seen it take a stroll up my lawn. Silly thing, missed all the food on the ground quite close to where it walked! Here’s numbers 11-20…

11. GOLDFINCH with an average of 1.26 per garden
12. GREENFINCH with an average of 1.07 per garden
13. DUNN0CK with an average of 2.84 per garden
14. MAGPIE with an average of 0.86 per garden
15. COAL TIT with an average of 0.75 per garden
16. JACKDAW with an average of 0.55per garden
17. FERAL PIGEON with an average of 0.53 per garden
18. CARRION CROW with an average of 0.49 per garden
19. WREN with an average of 0.29 per garden
20. SONG THRUSH with an average of 0.17 per garden

Okay, so if you’re still hungry for more stats I’ll give you a couple of more links. There are PDF files for the 74 different species seen during this year’s Big Garden Birdwatch but perhaps you’d like to see the list for your local patch. I remember last year many enjoyed browsing the later.

Bringing garden bird watching right up to date, in the last week I have been noticing pairs of birds visiting the feeders. I’ve seen Blue tits, Great tits, Chaffinches, Greenfinches, Siskins and Collared Doves all coming two by two! I’ve also seen a slow increase in goldfinches (now at five) and now a regular Song Thrush. Now… I’d love to see the Song Thrush bring a friend!

I wonder if you’ve seen lots of interesting bird activity in your garden over the weekend? I hope so. I spotted some moss loose at the edge of my ‘mossy’ lawn so I guess there are some birds looking for nesting material at the moment. Now, I wonder what tales will come from the Nestboxes this year. It really is fascinating to watch. Enjoy watching the birds in your garden.

The photo of Long-tailed tit shown above was taken in my garden during February 2009.

9 thoughts on “Top 10 UK Garden Birds 2009

  1. That was really fascinating Shirl. Congratulations on the success of the bird count. It’s heartwarming knowing so many people care enough to get involved in this project.

    We had snow this morning, and with above-freezing temperatures it was melting and falling from the trees in globs. A large group of robins, a couple of cardinals, and a number of sparrows gathered in the shelter of our three spruce trees to avoid the falling snow. They huddled under there peacefully for quite a while until the snow bombs stopped falling.

  2. It was so cold and windy here with rain as well. The birds didn’t come out as much as usual. Iam still shivering.

    I love the picture of the long tailed tits. They are adorable.

    House sparrows keep trying to nest in my new Purple Martin Houses so they are on the bottom of my list.

  3. That is a very thorough report.
    House sparrows, starlings, mourning doves, robins, goldfinches, cardinals and house finches are the most common birds here at my house. I could do without the house sparrows and starlings.

  4. That was really interesting. I haven’t heard of a lot of those birds before. They are really pretty and it’s fun to see birds from other parts of the world!

  5. Thanks for putting up the Birdwatch results. Must have taken a lot of time. It is really good to see increases in the counts for so many small birds, especially after a hard winter.

    As you say there are now lots of birds visiting in pairs. I’ve just noticed a visitor inspecting my Robin box – a Great Tit was giving it a very close inspection!

    Lots of moss being turfed out of the various planters here so there must be a lot of nesting activity starting somewhere nearby.

  6. Fantastic post, Shirl. I’ve seen long-tailed tits in the trees in my garden before now, but the first time I’ve ever seen one come down to a feeder was the day the results came out. It was an amazing coincidence!

  7. Hi again Mel, Garden Girl, Lisa, Robin, Catherine, John and Victoria 🙂

    Mel – Thanks, it’s interesting to compare them isn’t it? Oh… Hola Mel and welcome to the UK one day!

    Garden Girl – Thank-you and glad you found it interesting. Yes, I agree each year sees more people feeding birds which is great isn’t it? Oh my… snow in Illinois at the moment! I’d never have though that. Oh… I love the colour of your cardinals and love to see your robins especially as they look so different from ours. LOL… I can just imagine the birds taking shelter. Ours had strong winds and swinging feeders to contend with 😀

    Lisa – Oh… yes we had strong winds here too making it feel colder than it was. That wind chill factor! Yes, I loved that shot of the LTT too. Oh… sorry to hear the house sparrows are nesting where you don’t want them. They are on an endangered list here and a few years ago I put a special terrace nestbox up for them. But just like your Martin House it wasn’t the sparrows that took up residence it was a Blue tit! Nesting birds are a law unto themselves 😀

    Robin – Thank-you, I had a posting from last year and I was able to copy the formatting over and then add to it which helped. Ah… I have always enjoyed seeing the birds that visit your garden. Yes, I do remember your extreme numbers of starlings last year and I’ve just read that they are attempting to nest in your new nestbox too! Oh… I see images of the Hitchcock film!!! Stay safe 😉

    Catherine – Excellent, I’m glad I was able to share them with you. I agree completely it is great that we are able to share info on garden birds across the world like this 😀

    John – You are most welcome! I did a posting last year so I was able to copy the initial formatting over but they always require a bit of checking. I picked up an error on the RSPB page last year when I was checking the figures then. I agree, I was worried about the Blue tit numbers this year after failing nestboxes last year again. Excellent I do hope you get birds interested in your nestboxes this year. We have a Rooster in our Camera one tonight but sitting right under the entrance hole which is quite unusual. Yes, these moss tufts are clues to nesting aren’t they? Based on the last couple of years stats I should start seeing moss going in our nestbox by the weekend. I am wondering if the camera one will be chosen or not. We will just have to wait and see 😀

    Victoria – Thank-you, isn’t that just great that your garden is right up there and part of this increase in LTT’s to gardens – just wonderful 😀

  8. Hi Shirl,
    A very comprehensive post. The results this year were interesting as usual. It is always fascinating to see how the results compare to ones own sightings. I definitely have Greenfinches, Goldfinches and Blackbirds visit the most whereas the House Sparrow, which a few years ago was easily number one in our garden, I hardly see at all now.
    That really is a beautiful photo of the LTTs. I have managed to get a couple of photos of them at last, not as good as yours though!
    Hope all is well with you and yours.

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