Are Lincolnshire gardens a haven for migrants?

01 Sep 2014 | No. 2014-53

Autumn is a season of change when the weather starts to turn and birds migrate to and from our gardens. As migrants arrive for the winter, the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) Garden BirdWatch needs your help to predict what might appear in our gardens this winter.

Lincolnshire gardens are perfectly positioned for birds arriving on British shores in search of food and shelter, or for those needing one last pit-stop before they leave. While birds may not stay in gardens long, they often stop to make the most of food provided by residents.

Migrating birds such as Spotted Flycatchers, Swallows and House Martins will use gardens as a stopover, making the most of the last insects in the air before they leave the country. According to BTO Garden BirdWatch data, one in ten gardens in Lincolnshire is likely to have House Martins on autumn migration, and 20% will have Swallows.

As some birds leave, new birds arrive, and this is the time of year to keep an eye out for winter thrushes. Heading over from Scandinavia, Fieldfares and Redwings will start arriving from late September, along with migrant Song Thrushes, Mistle Thrushes and Blackbirds. Numbers will start off low, but in years where there were lots of thrushes around up to a tenth of Lincolnshire gardens have reported Redwings, and over 25% reported Fieldfares. Last winter numbers were lower than normal in gardens, partly because the mild weather in Europe meant there was less need for them to migrate here.

So what’s going to happen this year? Kate Risely, Garden BirdWatch Organiser, commented, "We can only chart the patterns of movements of birds in and out of gardens thanks to members of the public. By submitting weekly observations, Garden BirdWatch participants help us build up an image of what is going on and, on occasion, whether there are any strange patterns that need exploring. If you enjoy watching the birds in your garden, you can help add to this vital information."

For a free BTO Garden BirdWatch information pack, which includes a copy of our quarterly magazine, please contact gbw [at], telephone 01842 750050, or write to Garden BirdWatch, BTO, The Nunnery, Thetford, Norfolk, IP24 2PU

Notes for Editors

  1. The BTO Garden BirdWatch is the only nationwide survey of garden birds to run weekly throughout the year, providing important information on how birds use gardens, and how this use changes over time. Currently, some 14,500 people take part in the project. The project is funded by participants’ contributions and is the largest year-round survey of garden birds in the world. For more information see
  2. The BTO is the UK's leading bird research charity. A growing membership and up to 60,000 volunteer birdwatchers contribute to the BTO's surveys, collecting information that underpins conservation action in the UK. The BTO maintains a staff of 100 at its offices in Thetford, Stirling, Bangor (Wales) and Bangor (Northern Ireland), who analyse and publicise the results of surveys and projects. The BTO's work is funded by BTO supporters, government, trusts, industry and conservation organisations.

Contact Details

Clare Simm
(BTO Garden BirdWatch Development Officer)

Office: 01842 750050
(9am to 5.30pm)
Email: clare.simm [at]

Kate Risely
(BTO Garden BirdWatch Organiser)

Office: 01842 750050
(9am to 5.30pm)
Email: kate.risely [at]

Images are available for use alongside this News Release.
Please contact images [at] quoting reference 2014-53

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