Jersey Great Garden Bird Watch – results in

Blackbird. Photo by Mick DrydenJersey Great Garden Bird Watch 8th & 9th February 2014

By Mike Stentiford

This year’s garden bird watch (reported here) was held in February and the results have all been counted. Public response this time was slightly lower than in previous years – a little under 200 householders participated this year. Unfortunately the count coincided with some of the highest winds recorded during an already very windy start to the year.

Nevertheless, the results continue to give a reasonable snapshot of the wherewithal of the Island’s garden birds.

With thanks to Action for Wildlife’s co-ordinator Sheila Mallet, the top twenty species of the 13th Jersey Garden Bird Watch were:

Wood pigeon. Photo by Mick Dryden1 – House sparrow  1,109
2 – Chaffinch           503
3 – Starling              435
4 – Blue tit               383
5 – Great tit             342
6 – Magpie              282
7 – Collared dove    273
7 – Blackbird           273
9 – Goldfinch          263
10 – Wood pigeon  224

Greenfinch in winter. Photo by Mick Dryden11 to 20 were robin (213), herring gull (159), long-tailed tit (150), dunnock (149), carrion crow (139),  greenfinch (127), pheasant (77), song thrush (51), wren (49) and blackcap (29).

Analysis of these annual counts shows some important trends that give us a good picture of what is happening to our environment. While, alarmingly, greenfinch continues to show no signs of recovery it is pleasing to report that house sparrow may be doing better than it was only a few years ago. While populations of some of our other garden birds remain fairly stable only wood pigeon is actually showing signs of increasing.

Greenfinch. GBS 2002-2014

House sparrow. GBS 2002-2014Wood pigeon. GBS 2002-2014

May we add a very big ‘thank you’ to everyone who kindly took part – assisting with this annual survey is both important and hugely appreciated.

4 thoughts on “Jersey Great Garden Bird Watch – results in

  1. Love the add-on of the selected charts Glyn – good news re the house sparrow but a shame about the greenfinch – we seem to have similar trends to the UK – it’s the way of nature I guess!

  2. I do wonder about the veracity of the House Sparrow numbers ! when m y wife had a hairdressing Salon at home, our bird feeders were just outside the window and time afte r time I heard the ladies say: ‘look at all those sparrows’! When what they were actually looking at were Green Finches and Chaffinches. There is not a single House Sparrow visiting our bird table and none have nested on our Farm for several years.

    • Yes, there will always be some problems with identification. However, with house sparrows it is apparent that, while there has been a dramatic reduction overall, some ‘colonies’ are thriving. It is almost as if they do brilliantly at some some sites while disappearing altogether at others. Practically all the birds visiting my feeders are sparrows!

  3. We have had our first regular sparrow visitors to our garden for years. They started arriving the week after the survey! And, yes, they are most definitely sparrows! 🙂