THOUSANDS of people across the region took part in the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch revealing the most spotted birds in UK gardens.
Now in its 42nd year, the Birdwatch asks people to record the birds visiting their garden, helping the RSPB build up a picture of how species are faring.
This year over a million people took part, counting 17 million birds, with 8,000 households joining in across County Durham.
The house sparrow remained at the top of the rankings in the region as the most commonly seen garden bird, reported in more than 70 per cent of County Durham gardens
Blackbirds and starlings joined house sparrows to form the top three most spotted bird in the region.
Sadly, 16 out of the top 20 bird species showed declines in average counts compared to last year.
Starlings slid down the ranking for the first time since 2010, with numbers down 83 per cent since the Birdwatch started in 1979.
Further national declines were recorded for greenfinch and chaffinch.
Only robins, blackbirds, carrion crows and the song thrush saw an increase on 2020 across the UK.
Beccy Speight, RSPB CEO said: “We have been blown away by the enthusiasm with which people have taken part in the Birdwatch this year.
“Lockdowns have brought few benefits, but the last year has either started or reignited a love of nature for many people, right on their doorsteps.
“This winter has been a bleak ordeal but as the dawn chorus starts to burst into song and the blossom starts to flower from the trees once more, we are emerging from this pandemic a new generation of nature lovers.
“We hope the Birdwatch has kindled a new passion for wildlife for the thousands who took part for the first time this year – we need every voice raised to stand up for nature.
“The wildlife that gave us so much interest and solace is now just a fraction of what should be there.
“On the back of this wave of public support, we need the government to take the global leadership, policy and legislative opportunities open to it this year to reverse the decline and restore nature now.”
This year’s Big Garden Birdwatch was held over the last weekend of January.
Over its four decades, the scheme 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 still down 78 per cent compared to the first Big Garden Birdwatch in 1979.
This species was a firm fixture in the top ten in 1979.
By 2009, its numbers were less than half those recorded in 1979, it came in at 20th in the rankings this year, seen in just nine per cent of gardens.
Here are the top 20 most commonly spotted birds in UK gardens and the full Birdwatch results can be seen here.
10.Long tailed tit