Big Garden Birdwatch results: Goldfinch move up the rankings in Dumfries and Galloway

Gardens are vital to much-loved species

Nearly 40,000 Scots took part in this year’s RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch and have discovered some interesting changes among our most recognisable garden birds, with one species that benefits from a bit of extra help creeping up the rankings in Scotland.

1,880 people in Dumfries and Galloway helped to count a range of species over the weekend of the 25 and 26 January 2014, reporting their results to the nature conservation charity.  The most common garden visitor was the chaffinch, appearing in 81% of participants’ gardens in the area.

House sparrow, blue tit, blackbird and starling followed close behind rounding out the top five.

Goldfinches, brightly coloured garden visitors, occupied 8th position in the Dumfries and Galloway league table and 7th in Scotland overall.


Just 10 years ago, goldfinches were in 15th position in Scotland, and one possible explanation for their steady rise is the increasing number of people providing food such as nyjer seed and sunflower hearts in gardens. Alternatively, milder winters could be helping the birds to thrive.


Meanwhile nuthatch continue to climb the table, hopping ahead nine places to number 32 this year. Nuthatch have been gradually spreading north into Scotland over the past decade and are now spotted in the Scottish Borders, Dumfries and Galloway and throughout the Central Belt and Argyll. 


Leianna Padgett of RSPB Scotland said: “We know from the sheer number of people who take part in the Big Garden Birdwatch that garden birds are incredibly popular.  They are a joy to watch and many people go to real efforts to provide extra food and water throughout the winter months.


“During winter, and at other times of year, birds benefit from extra food and water and a safe place to shelter and make their home. Gardens provide the ideal space for these visitors. It’s fantastic to see goldfinches continue to climb the rankings. They are adaptable, friendly garden birds and great examples of birds that can flourish with our help.  If we leave out some food or let our gardens grow a bit wild, they’ll be among the first to take advantage.”

This year, for the first time, participants were also asked to log some of the other wildlife they see in their gardens.  The RSPB asked whether people ever see deer, squirrels, badgers, hedgehogs, frogs and toads in their gardens, to help build an overall picture of how important our gardens are for giving all types of wildlife a home.

This information will be analysed and results will be revealed next month.

The photos included in this article are all taken at my own Bird table on 27/3/14

Pictures by R.B photography

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