Goldcrest numbers grow after a slow start

01 Dec 2014 | No. 2014-68

Harsh winters with prolonged spells of cold weather hit small birds hard as they struggle to survive the testing conditions. Thanks to last year’s relatively mild winter, Goldcrests have had a bumper breeding season in East Sussex. What will the oncoming winter bring and how will our garden Goldcrests fair? The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) Garden BirdWatch needs your help to keep track of things.

Unlike in previous years when there have been obvious patterns throughout the year, the number of East Sussex gardens with Goldcrests has stayed relatively stable this year. Goldcrest numbers in gardens started the year lower than in 2013, possibly due to the relatively mild weather and abundance of food available in the wider countryside. This was likely to have a knock-on effect for the breeding season as more adult birds may have survived the winter and been able to breed. From mid-June the reporting rate for Goldcrest in East Sussex gardens overtook that of the 2013 season and at their peak, Goldcrests were seen in the most gardens since 2012.

So what’s the picture going to be this winter? Alex Rhodes at the BTO says, “Thanks to the fantastic effort of members of the public contributing weekly observations from their gardens to the Garden BirdWatch scheme, we can keep an eye on what’s happening and look further into patterns that need exploring. If you enjoy watching birds in your garden, you too can 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

Alex Rhodes

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

Clare Simm
(BTO Garden BirdWatch Development Officer)

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

Images are available for use alongside this News Release.
Please contact images [at] quoting reference 2014-68

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