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Just where have all the garden birds gone?

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 13, 2013

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A worrying lack of garden birds this winter has prompted a stream of calls to the RSPB by Westcountry wildlife lovers.

People looking forward to the familiar sight of birds, including goldfinches and great tits, flying to tables and feeders have so far been left disappointed.

The RSPB said gardens were unusually quiet for the time of year with only a low number of birds around.

And the conservation charity said it had received a number of calls from people who were worried they might have done something wrong, causing the birds to stay away.

Tony Whitehead, from the RSPB in the South West, said yesterday: "We are receiving calls from people who are worried that they are somehow responsible for the lack of garden birds at the moment.

"Many can't understand why feeders aren't being visited, despite being full of high-energy foods, which are usually in high demand by December.

"The answer is almost certainly down to the unusually mild weather we're experiencing at the moment.

"Birds will still be able to get hold of natural food in the wider countryside, in the fields and hedgerows, so haven't had to call upon us humans for help just yet.

"But that could all change very quickly if the weather turns and temperatures drop.

"We're urging people to continue to put out a little food and water as some birds will still be visiting garden feeders, but feed in moderation when fewer birds are present, to avoid wasting uneaten food.

"As soon as the weather gets colder, those gardens that have food out will be birds' first port of call and normal service will be resumed."

Mr Whitehead added: "With the RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch coming up after Christmas, keeping your feeders, tables and bird baths topped-up when the weather does turn will not only make sure your garden visitors are well-fed and looked after, it will also encourage them into your garden just in time for you to take part in the world's biggest wildlife survey."

The RSPB's annual garden birds survey is being held on January 25-26.

This year for the first time, as well as birds, participants are being asked to log some of the other wildlife they see in their gardens too.

To take part, people are asked to spend just one hour at any time over the weekend noting the highest number of each bird species seen in their gardens or local park at any one time.

They then have three weeks to submit their results to the RSPB, either online at rspb.org.uk/birdwatch or by post.

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  • Foldart  |  December 13 2013, 1:46PM

    It seems I can write blue tits but not great t.i.t.s. or coal t.i.t.s. Funny that :-)

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  • Foldart  |  December 13 2013, 1:45PM

    We have 6 feeders of different sorts to attract a variety of birds. They still come; bull finches, blue tits, great ****, coal ****, sparrows, robins, wagtails and an occasional sparrow hawk. The mild weather is good for them and they're not relying on us too much so far but they are still out there. Sparrows, indeed, have made a big comeback over the last couple of years.

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