Birdie baby boom

Greenfinch, Carduelis chloris, male perched on blossom
Greenfinch, Carduelis chloris, male perched on blossom

SOME of Scotland’s favourite garden bird chicks have had a good summer according to participants in the RSPB’s summer wildlife survey.

A total of 4,000 Scots of all ages took part in this year’s ‘Make Your Nature Count’ survey, helping RSPB Scotland to paint a clearer picture of garden wildlife numbers across the country.

Keith Morton of RSPB Scotland said: “It is fantastic that so many people have stepped up for nature and done the survey.

“It is important that they understand just how useful their contributions are when they tell us how their garden wildlife is faring. Their efforts will be carefully analysed, with other data, to tease out the trends.

“But, on the face of it, despite the cold winter and wet and windy spring, this year’s efforts suggest that most garden birds bred in good numbers.”

There were real concerns following the harsh seasons that some garden species may have suffered declines, however, rather than disappearing from our gardens, many appear to have had a good breeding season.

Species such as robin, blackbird and song thrush saw a jump in the number of young spotted in Scotland’s gardens, while the number of nesting House martins also increased as 13% of participants reported sightings.

And it was a good season for some adult birds too with blue tit, coal tit and greenfinch numbers increasing significantly on the previous year.

It was not all good news however, as the number of wrens spotted continued to drop with only 15% reporting sightings in comparison with 17% in 2010.

The public were also asked to count other garden creatures, including insects, mammals and reptiles and bats an hedgehogs were spotted across Scotland’s gardens while badgers were characteristically more elusive, appearing in only 3% of gardens.

The Make Your Nature Count league tables remained largely unchanged from 2010, with the House sparrow retaining the top spot – an average of seven House sparrows were recorded at any one time, a slight increase on the previous year.

Second and third place were occupied once again by the starling and chaffinch, both recording a rise in numbers at any one time since the last Make Your Nature Count; whilst a steady increase in blue tits saw them retain their lead on the blackbird to complete the top five.