Goldfinches the big winners in RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch

Goldfinch'RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 2014
Goldfinch'RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 2014

More than 800 people in East Dunbartonshire took part in this year’s RSPB Big Birdwatch.

They volunteered to spend an hour recording the coming and going in their garden.

Around 40,000 Scots took part this year and they discovered some interesting changes among our most recognisable garden birds, with one species that benefits from a bit of extra help creeping up the rankings.

In East Dunbartonshire, the most common garden visitor - despite the fact that their numbers have dipped sharply - was the house sparrow, appearing in nearly 54 per cent of participants’ gardens.

Woodpigeon, starling, blue tit and blackbird followed close behind rounding out the top five.

Goldfinches, brightly coloured garden visitors, occupied 12th position in the East Dunbartonshire league table, up from 16 in 2013. The species placed seventh in Scotland overall.

Just 10 years ago, goldfinches were in 15th position in Scotland, and one possible explanation for their steady rise is the increasing number of people providing food such as nyjer seed and sunflower hearts in gardens. Alternatively, milder winters could be helping the birds to thrive.

Leianna Padgett of RSPB Scotland said: “We know from the sheer number of people who take part in the Big Garden Birdwatch that garden birds are incredibly popular. They are a joy to watch and many people go to real efforts to provide extra food and water throughout the winter months.

“During winter, and at other times of year, birds benefit from extra food and water and a safe place to shelter and make their home. Gardens provide the ideal space for these visitors. It’s fantastic to see goldfinches continue to climb the rankings. They are adaptable, friendly garden birds and great examples of birds that can flourish with our help.

“If we leave out some food or let our gardens grow a bit wild, they’ll be among the first to take advantage.”