Chaffinch is the most seen bird in Argyll and Bute

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The latest results from the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch have revealed a mixed picture for Scotland’s garden birdlife, with 13 of the top 20 species being seen in fewer gardens than in 2018.

Now in its 40th year, the Big Garden Birdwatch is a chance for people of all ages to count the number of birds that visit their garden, helping the RSPB build up a picture of how they are doing.

This year, more than 32,000 people across Scotland took part in counting almost 600,000 birds.

The most commonly recorded bird in Argyll and Bute was the chaffinch, with 884 spotted, an average of 6.4 per garden and seen in 81.7 per cent of gardens.

Argyll and Bute was the only local authroty area to have the chaffinch top, with the majority saying house sparrows and few starlings.

The results from the event, held over the last weekend in January, revealed that house sparrows remained at the top of the rankings as the most commonly seen garden birds. There were more than 100,000 recorded sightings of house sparrows in Scotland.

Over its four decades, Big Garden Birdwatch has highlighted the winners and losers in the garden bird world. It was first to alert the RSPB to the decline in song thrush numbers. This species was a firm fixture in the UK top 10 in 1979. By 2009, its numbers were less than half those recorded in 1979. It came in at 24th in the Scotland rankings this year.

Throughout the first half of the spring term the nation’s school children took part in the RSPB’s Big Schools Birdwatch. The survey of birds in school grounds across Scotland saw close to 6,000 school children spend an hour in nature counting the birds. Starling was the most numerous species seen with an average of almost 9 per school; and was seen in 60% of all schools that took part.

For a full round-up of all the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch results and to see which birds were visiting gardens where you live, visit www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch.