Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The RSPB Garden Birdwatch

The RSPB Garden Birdwatch day usually occurs on the last weekend in January. As the survey method has remained the same since 1979, the results gathered provide vital scientific data and are an extremely valuable record of garden birds in the UK over the years.

I have been taking part in the Garden Birdwatch since 2001 and this chart shows a comparison between 4 species during that time.
The Greenfinch has shown the most decline as it has not been recorded in the last 3 years, and the Goldfinch wasn’t recorded this year either. One of the reasons could be due to the disease caused by a Trichomonas parasite, which has been seen in some species of finch. Whilst greenfinches and chaffinches are the species that have been most frequently affected, other finch species and house sparrows are also susceptible to the disease. I have actually seen both a Greenfinch and a Goldfinch suffering with the disease and it is very distressing. They try to take a sunflower seed but are unable to swallow it. I clean and disinfect my feeders regularly and change the birdbath water almost daily.
On a more positive note, the small population of House Sparrows appear to be in fine fettle.