Print page

Birdwatch highlights the importance of East Sussex's gardens for birds

Last modified: 26 March 2015

Male house sparrow about to land

House sparrow recovery depends on Sussex gardens

Image: Andy Cooper

The results of January’s Big Garden Birdwatch have highlighted the importance of gardens across East Sussex to the future of house sparrows, starlings and blue tits. 

Sparrows and starlings were put on the red list of species under threat of extinction after losing two thirds of their numbers since the seventies.

They are in the top five most common garden birds, reflecting the importance of private gardens to their future and underlining the impact Sussex residents can have on the birds’ ability to recover.

East Sussex gardens have an average of four house sparrows each and numbers are increasing, as are starlings, a fellow red-listed top three species.

Fifth placed blackbirds have slumped a bit since 2010. There’s a slight upward trend for magpies and feral pigeons over the past five years.

“The best news is that house sparrows have seen a 25% increase since 2010, but that has been from an historic low-point.” Said the RSPB’s Tim Webb.

“If everyone in the county did one thing in their garden for birds, it would help secure the survival of a whole range of birds and other wildlife. Putting up a nestbox, planting shrubs and hedges or sowing a wildflower patch are simple actions that will increase either food or shelter for struggling birds,” added Tim.

The top ten most common garden bird species in East Sussex are:

1.    House sparrow

2.    Blue tit

3.    Starling

4.    Woodpigeon

5.    Blackbird

6.    Robin

7.    Magpie

8.    Great tit

9.    Collared dove

10.  Feral pigeon


All of the information comes from families, individuals and schools across the county and provides the RSPB with annual snapshots of the birds of East Sussex. Comparing data with that from previous years helps the RSPB identify conservation needs.

The RSPB’s Tim Webb said “More people took part this year, giving us some great information, and we’re incredibly grateful. They’ve revealed which birds live in their gardens and that’s information we’d never be able to get by ourselves. Thank you.”

How you can help

Nature in the UK is in trouble and some of our more familiar garden species are amongst those suffering serious declines. We can all help by giving nature a home where we live.