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Surrey gardeners key to boosting threatened birds

Last modified: 26 March 2015

Juvenile blue tit sitting in a bird bath

House sparrows, blue tits and starlings need help from Surrey's gardeners

Image: Ray Kennedy

The results of January’s Big Garden Birdwatch have highlighted the importance of Surrey’s gardens 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.

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

Surrey sets itself apart from other South East counties by not having the house sparrow or starling in its top three most common garden birds. But each of the top three species (blue tit, woodpigeon and blackbird) has seen their numbers drop since 2010 (7%, 1% and 17% respectively).

With six of the top ten species showing short-term trend declines, the RSPB is urging Surrey’s gardeners to come to the rescue.

The RSPB’s Tim Webb said: “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 Surrey are:

1.    Blue tit

2.    Woodpigeon

3.    Blackbird

4.    House sparrow

5.    Starling

6.    Robin

7.    Magpie

8.    Great tit

9.    Goldfinch

10.  Collared dove 


All of the information comes from families, individuals and schools across the county and provides the RSPB with annual snapshots of the birds of Surrey. 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.