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Hampshire's gardens are the new conservation front line

Last modified: 26 March 2015

Juvenile house sparrow profile

How you manage your garden can save threatened birds

Image: Steve Round

The results of January’s Big Garden Birdwatch have highlighted the importance of Hampshire’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 Hampshire residents can have on the birds’ ability to recover.

The past five years have been good for Hampshire’s house sparrows and starlings, with both species seeing an ongoing, upwards, short-term trend.

Blackbirds have been a little erratic over the same period, but are recorded in 92% of the county’s gardens making them the most widespread bird in Hampshire. Magpie numbers are also up.

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 Hampshire are:

1.    House sparrow

2.    Blue tit

3.    Starling

4.    Blackbird

5.    Woodpigeon

6.    Robin

7.    Goldfinch

8.    Great tit

9.    Collared dove

10.  Magpie

 

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