More than a million Brits participated in a record-breaking RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch this year. This is double the number of birdwatchers who took part in 2020.
The number of birdwatchers in Scotland over the annual RSPB weekend in January was also the highest ever at 78,000.
The charity reported that a total of 17 million birds were spotted across the country.
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What is the Big Garden Birdwatch
The Big Garden Birdwatch is the world’s largest wildlife survey and gives RSPB scientists insights into how our garden birds are faring
Now in its 42nd year, tit's believed that participation grew in 2021 due to the Covid pandemic.
A YouGov survey revealed the pandemic is making the public more aware of nature. Across the UK, 63% of people said watching the birds and hearing their song added to their enjoyment of life since the onset of the pandemic, including 55% of people in Scotland.
In addition, it was shown that 41% of people in Scotland say the pandemic has made them more aware of the nature around them.
Big Garden Birdwatch 2021 results
The event held over the last weekend in January revealed the house sparrow held on to its number one spot. Meanwhile, 10 out of the top 20 bird species showed declines in average numbers in Scotland compared to last year.
Over four decades, the Big Garden Birdwatch has highlighted which species are thriving and which are struggling in the garden bird world. It was first to alert the RSPB to the decline in song thrush numbers, which are still down 78% across the UK compared to the first Big Garden Birdwatch in 1979.
This species was a firm fixture in the top 10 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 13% of Scottish gardens.
The house sparrow remains at the top of the Big Garden Birdwatch rankings as the most commonly seen garden bird in Scotland with more than 250,000 recorded sightings throughout the weekend.
Starlings stayed in second place, but numbers were down 14% compared to 2020. Goldfinches saw the greatest decline in Scotland’s top 10, falling four places from sixth position last year, with reported numbers 47% fewer than 2020.
Beccy Speight, RSPB CEO said: “One way you can help revive our world is to bring nature to you. Your garden, balcony, and even windowsill are potential havens for wildlife, and in April we’re launching a digital platform, Nature on Your Doorstep, to help show you how.”
For a full round-up of all the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch results and to see which birds were visiting gardens where you live, visit www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch (opens in new tab)
Fiona Russell is a widely published adventure journalist and blogger, who is better known as Fiona Outdoors. She is based in Scotland and is an all-round outdoors enthusiast with favourite activities including trail running, mountain walking, mountain biking, road cycling, triathlon and skiing, both downhill and back country. Her target for 2021 is to finish the final nine summits in her first round of all 282 Munros, the Scottish mountains of more than 3,000ft high. Aside from being outdoors, Fiona's biggest aim is to inspire others to enjoy the great outdoors, especially through her writing. She is also rarely seen without a running skort! Find out more at Fiona Outdoors (opens in new tab).
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