Simple changes needed to help garden birds

Sparrow remains the most commonly sighted bird in Northamptonshire RSPB picture
Sparrow remains the most commonly sighted bird in Northamptonshire RSPB picture

A SURVEY of common birds has revealed how simple changes to garden management could vastly improve their fortunes.

The RSPB carried out its Big Garden Birdwatch in January asking residents to record the various species that came into their back gardens over one weekend.

The results showed that the number of House Sparrows, Starlings and Song Thrushes have fallen.

These three are now RSPB red-listed species of the highest conservation concern that need the most help.

The RSPB’s Adrian Thomas said; “Gardens can offer a real lifeline for wildlife.

“Just doing a few simple things in our gardens can mean they provide food, shelter and nesting spaces for birds which are most vital for the species that are struggling.

“Temperatures are still quite low across the country so birds need all the help they can get during breeding season.”

House sparrows have dropped by 63 per cent since 1979 and Song Thrushes by 59 per cent.

There were seven per cent fewer Bull Finches compared to last year’s survey.

RSPB spokesman, Samantha Stokes, said: “We don’t know for definite why the decline is happening.

“For House Sparrows and Starlings it could be loss of habitat, loss of food source, cold winters and wet summers.

“We can play a part by putting out bird boxes and extra food, we can grow shrubs which produce berries or plants which produce nectar-rich flowers. Let the grass grow longer for insects to hide which provide bird food.” For information visit: www.rspb.org.uk/hfw