The RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch results 2023: House Sparrow tops the charts for 20th year running but bird declines since the survey began are “startling” - RSPB

male house sparrow, a small brown bird with a grey cap and cheeks, and and chestnut nape, perching on thr edge of seed filled open saucer
Male House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)

House Sparrows are celebrating their 20th year as the number one bird spotted in UK gardens, but bird declines since the survey began are “startling” with 22 million House Sparrows alone lost from UK skies since 1966 Despite their “startling” long-term declines, this year’s Big Garden Birdwatch has revealed that House Sparrows have held on to the top spot for an incredible 20 years running. Meanwhile, long term trends in the number of Long-tailed Tits, Greenfinches and Chaffinches recorded in gardens over the past decade alone also highlight the fragility of our natural world.

The RSPB’s Chief Executive, Beccy Speight said: “With so many people sending in their sightings over the weekend from across the UK, Big Garden Birdwatch really helps paint a picture of how our garden birds are faring.

While we celebrate the 20 year stint of the House Sparrow at number one, the numbers speak for themselves when it comes to the startling declines of some of our once common birds. They no longer have the abundance across the UK that they used to have.  We are in a nature and climate emergency and we’ve lost 38 million birds from our skies in the last 50 years.”

Over its four decades, Big Garden Birdwatch has highlighted the winners and losers in the garden bird world. It was first to alert the RSPB to the decline in Song Thrush numbers, which are down 80% compared to the first Big Garden Birdwatch in 1979.  This species was a firm fixture in the top 10 in 1979 but by 2009, its numbers were less than half those recorded 44 years ago. The Song Thrush scraped in at number 20 in the rankings this year, seen in just 9% of gardens.

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Posted On: 14/04/2023

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