Starlings are top of the garden pops

STARLINGS still outnumber any other species of wild bird in East Anglia's gardens – despite a long-term decline in overall population, the result of a new survey reveals.

STARLINGS still outnumber any other species of wild bird in East Anglia's gardens – despite a long-term decline in overall population, the result of a new survey reveals.

House sparrows emerged as the second most common garden bird in the region but blackbirds were seen in more of gardens than any other species.

In Suffolk and Essex more than 17,000 people took part in this year's Big Garden Birdwatch survey – organised by the RSPB in order to help monitor changes in bird populations.

Starlings, house sparrows, blue tits and blackbirds were the four most common birds in gardens of the two counties and more than 80 different species were recorded.


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In fifth place in Suffolk was the chaffinch followed by the collared dove, greenfinch, great tit, wood pigeon and robin.

Blackbirds were seen in 96% of the county's gardens with blue tits and robins in more 84%.

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The two most abundant species, starlings and house sparrows were seen in 64% and 69% respectively in Suffolk and 73% and 77% in Essex.

In Essex fifth place in the top ten went to the collared dove, followed by wood pigeon, great tit, greenfinch, chaffinch and robin.

Blackbirds were seen in 92% of the county's gardens and blue tits and robins in more than 80%.

Nationally, in excess of 300,000 people took part in the survey, including 44,000 children and the numbers taking part in Suffolk and Essex reached record figures.

However, the survey has shown no relief from a downward slide in starling and house sparrow numbers by 67% and 52% respectively since 1979.

Steve Rowland, Big Garden Birdwatch organiser in Suffolk and Essex said the RSPB was delighted with the level of participation from the two counties.

"This demonstrates the interest and concern people have for the birds around them. It is essential that surveys like this continue to gather important scientific information if we are to reverse the decline of our best loved garden birds," he added.

david.green@eadt.co.uk

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