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Blue Tits missing from our gardens following spring heatwave - British Trust for Ornithology

Blue Tit by Liz Cutting
Blue Tit by Liz Cutting

The lockdown has allowed many people to reconnect with nature, but evidence from British Trust for Ornithology’s (BTO) Garden BirdWatch survey has shown that some of our favourite garden species, such as the Blue Tit, have been struggling this year, possibly due to the unusually warm spring.

For the past 25 years, the BTO has been asking participants of the Garden BirdWatch survey to submit their records of garden birds to help us understand how these species are faring. This information has allowed us to see how even the most common birds can fluctuate from year to year.

Blue Tits have been seen in fewer gardens and in smaller numbers since May 2020.
It is thought that this year’s spring, with the fifth-warmest April in over 100 years, meant that invertebrates, including butterflies and moths, got off to an early start. Caterpillars are an important food for Blue Tit nestlings, but in warm springs caterpillars develop early, and there are fewer available during the main Blue Tit nesting season, often leading to reduced survival of nestlings and smaller populations overall.

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