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Berkshire's gardens more important for birds than ever

Last modified: 26 March 2015

Blue tit finds nesting material

Blue tits are top of the flocks in Berkshire gardens

Image: Tim Clifton

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

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

Blue tits are tops despite the populations dropping compared with 2010. House sparrow and starling populations are doing relatively well compared with other counties, with both red listed species showing an increase since 2010.

Blackbirds and great tits have seen their numbers drop more than 13% over the past five years. Magpies have increased 36% in the same period.

“The best news is that house sparrows have seen a 14% increase, but that has been from an historic low-point.” Said the RSPB’s Tim Webb.

“If everyone in Berkshire 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 bird species in Berkshire gardens are:

1.    Blue tit

2.    Woodpigeon

3.    Blackbird

4.    House sparrow

5.    Starling

6.    Robin

7.    Great tit

8.    Magpie

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 Berkshire’s birds. 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.