The Big Garden Birdwatch 2017 – Results – Starlings dethroned!

_dsc9630-1280x852The Big Garden Birdwatch is done for another the year, the fourth in this house, and after three years of dominance the starlings have surrendered the top spot. But what took their place?

Have you ever heard of the Observer Effect? It’s an idea in physics, sometimes bracketed in with Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle (incorrectly so). It basically says the act of observing something changes the thing you are observing. It has truth in physics, and in the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch.

For the last fortnight there has been a substantial mixed flock of finches around our village, and this has seen as many as twenty Greenfinches, Goldfinches, Siskins and Bullfinches land in the garden. But as soon as we start sitting and counting them, almost nothing.

Robin that has recently started to grace us with its presence

A possible winner?

The count ran an almost identical time-slot to 2016, 9:37-10:37. Within the first fifteen minutes ten species had been ticked off from the fifteen that are regularly seen in our garden.

About fifteen minutes from the end a Sparrowhawk flew overhead (can’t count that) which pretty much spooked all other birds, bar two Dunnocks that put in a last-minute appearance to take the overall species count to twelve.

Starlings dropped to a mere two, though there had been five just a minute before I started counting. This from a high-water mark of twelve last year.

The new champions were the Goldfinches, recording four individuals. This was a reward for consistency as we have recorded four individuals every time we’ve done the count here. The full results were:

4 Goldfinches

1 Siskin

3 Wood Pigeon

2 Blackbird

2 Robin

2 Blue Tit

1 Wren

2 Magpie

2 Starling

3 Greenfinch

2 Great Tit

2 Dunnock

Overall numbers were low, with just 26 individuals across the twelve species seen. That’s the lowest we’ve had here. I don’t think it’s a source of concern though. It’s been mild, there are plenty of natural food sources around, and this morning was warm and sunny which probably made the birds feed away from the garden.

Still, more points on the graph and a notable first appearance for Great Tits on this count.


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4 Responses to The Big Garden Birdwatch 2017 – Results – Starlings dethroned!

  1. Anonymous says:

    Congratulations to the goldfinches. Was sorry to see today that the UK Government didn’t name the robin as the official bird. It would have sent an important message about urban wildlife.

  2. Pingback: RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 2017 – The UK winners and losers | Why watch wildlife?

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