Published: 02 April 2013
The RSPB Birdwatch Results 2013
Following publication of the results of the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 2013, we look at what the figures mean for the bird population across the country.
Robin - Down 4.2% on 2012
Following another successful Big Garden Birdwatch survey the overriding opinion appears to be that gardens are ‘vital’ for some of our most threatened bird species. 
The RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch is the world’s biggest wildlife survey with half a million people taking part each year.  Running for 34 years the survey has made a major contribution to tracking garden bird numbers over the winter.

Lots of Support

Almost 590,000 people across the UK, including 75,000 pupils and teachers at schools, took part in the Birdwatch in January 2013.   

Martin Harper, RSPB Conservation Director, said; “We know from the many people who take part in Big Garden Birdwatch every year that garden birds are incredibly precious to us  and connect us to nature every day.  I had the joy of doing the Birdwatch with my children again this year and, fidgeting aside, it was one of those memorable mornings when the family is captivated by nature.  But, several of our familiar and best-loved species have been declining at alarming rates over the 34 years that the RSPB has been running the Birdwatch and this year’s results show a continuing decline.”  

Goldfinch - Down 10.1% on 2012

The Results

Some of the UK’s most threatened and best-loved bird species are continuing to decline, according to results from the RSPB’s annual Big Garden Birdwatch survey 2013, released on Thursday 28 March, 2013.
Starlings, a UK ‘red-listed’ species, meaning it is of the highest conservation concern, hit an all-time low in the Birdwatch last year and their numbers sunk by a further 16 per cent in gardens this year.  
 Numbers of house sparrows, also on the red-list, dropped by 17 per cent in gardens compared to 2012, whilst bullfinches and dunnocks, both amber-listed, fell by 20 per cent and 13 per cent respectively.  
The RSPB go to great lengths to ensure that special UK habitats are given the right levels of designation and legal protection because of their role in supporting threatened wildlife. What is very clear is that every one of our gardens, the places literally on our doorsteps, are important too. 

Jay (Garrulus glandarius) -  Image Credit: Luc Viatour /

Whilst the decline of some species continued, others fared better with garden sightings of siskins, fieldfares and jays up by as much as 85 per cent.  The cold, harsh conditions in the wider countryside back in January is likely to have driven more of these birds into gardens on their search for food.  
Last year saw a particularly bad crop of acorns, a favourite among jays, meaning these birds are likely to have visited gardens more than normal during the winter to find alternative food sources.
Martin Harper continued; “Gardens make up around 4 per cent of the land area in the UK and their role as habitats for our wildlife is clear.  They are the places that birds come to for food and shelter when conditions in the countryside are especially tough and together, we can all play a part in making them more welcoming and supportive for wildlife, whether we have a garden full of greenery, a yard or a window box.”


2013 UK species   Rank % change since 2012
House Sparrow  1 -17.4
Blackbird 2 -11.5
Blue Tit 3  -11.2
Starling 4  -15.9
Woodpigeon 5 8.8
Chaffinch 6 -6.6
Great Tit 7 -8.9
Goldfinch 8 -10.1
Robin 9 - 4.2
Long tailed tit   10 46.3
Collared Dove 11 -6.3
Dunnock 12 -13.4
Magpie 13 -4.9
Coal Tit 14 7.3
Feral pigeon 15 0.6
Greenfinch 16 -20.8
Jackdaw 17 0.8
Carrion crow 18 -7.0
Common gull 19 30.9
Wren 20 -14.1


We can all do something to help the wildlife in your garden, to find out how go to the RSPB website:   
To find out more about Big Garden Birdwatch visit and
The RSPB speaks out for birds and wildlife, tackling the problems that threaten our environment. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) is a registered charity: England and Wales no. 207076, Scotland no. SC037654.
Reported by Chris Allen  

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