Latest News from the (GBW) 2012

Garden BirdWatch monitors the changing fortunes of birds and other garden wildlife through its network of ‘citizen scientists’. Observations collected by BTO Garden BirdWatchers are analysed by BTO researchers and published in leading journals. BTO Garden BirdWatchers have charted the decline of the House Sparrow, the rise of the Woodpigeon, have discovered that urban birds get up later than their rural counterparts and have alerted conservationists to the impact of an emerging disease in Greenfinches.Find out more about the project here

Garden BirdWatch Annual Results 2012

Coal Tit (John Harding) 

Annual Results for the BTO Garden BirdWatch Survey have just been published. 2012 was a year of unusual weather and intriguing movements of birds into gardens. February snowfall brought Redwings, Fieldfares and others, while the wet spring and summer saw birds such as Siskins turning to gardens for help. Perhaps the most striking trends were in early autumn when a scarcity of natural seeds and nuts caused Nuthatch, Coal Tit, Jay and several other birds to focus on garden feeding stations instead.

See the national and local results.

Red letter days in gardens
Lesser Redpoll (Mike Gough) 

BTO Garden BirdWatchers have charted a record influx of Lesser Redpolls into gardens over recent weeks. Around 1 in 12 participants spotted this attractive finch in early March, representing a huge increase since 2008. Their numbers in gardens peak during early spring when natural seed availability in the countryside is depleted. Read about their influx and download our free Lesser Redpoll factsheet.

Avian pox in Great Tits
Great Tit, by John Harding 

Reports of avian pox in Great Tits are a recent phenomenon and have shown a marked increase since 2006, with many individuals showing particularly large and unpleasant looking lesions. The emergence of avian pox in British tits has been investigated by researchers at the Institute of Zoology, the Edward Grey Institute, the BTO and RSPB, working together to unravel the reasons behind the recent spread of cases. A series of three papers on the topic have just been published in the journal PLOS One, one of which uses data collected by BTO Garden BirdWatchers.

Find out more.


Garden Blackcap Survey – now finished!
Blackcap (Mike Gough) 

Thank you so much for the wonderful response to our Garden Blackcap Survey. Well over 2,500 people took part in this month-long project. The survey has now finished. Participants who left an email address or those who took part on paper, will be sent preliminary results in the spring. Download our factsheet about wintering Blackcaps.



Keep telling us about your unusual-looking garden birds
Blue Tit (Phil Littler) 

The BTO Abnormal Plumage Survey and Big Garden Beak Watch projects are still on-going. If you see a bird with unusual-coloured plumage or a deformed beak in your garden, please let us know so that we can keep a record of these individuals. We are particularly interested in knowing where these birds are seen, the kinds of abnormalities that they experience and whether their behaviour differs from ‘normal’ individuals.



New study of birds and garden berries
Song Thrush, by John Harding 

Berries and other fruits provide an important resource for many birds during the autumn and winter, with those in gardens particularly well used by thrushes, Starlings and wintering warblers. Different berries and fruits become available at different times and there is evidence to suggest that birds favour some fruits over others, often using berry colour to make their selection. Despite a lengthy list of berries and fruits that have been put forward as being attractive to birds, we lack hard scientific evidence of which plants and varieties of plants are favoured by which bird species. Our new study sets out to address this question.

Find out more.


Give the gift of Garden BirdWatch
Garden BirdWatch Gift Pack - only £19.95 

Our smart new presentation pack means that you can now give the gift of BTO Garden BirdWatch to a friend or relative. The pack, which retails at £19.95, contains all that is needed to get started recording garden wildlife. Once the activation card is returned, the recipient will be sent a free copy of the acclaimedGarden Birds & Wildlife and four quarterly issues of Bird Table magazineOrder your copy today.

The pack contains: an annual sunscription to GBW, a welcome letter, an activation card, a quick start guide, instructions, advice on feeding and attracting garden birds and a car sticker. Return the activation card to receive a free copy of Garden Birds and Wildlife, four quarterly issues of Bird Table magazine, access to BTO experts, access to GBW Online.





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