Surrey – the best county for favourite garden birds

01 Apr 2011 | No. 2011-16

Local people who participate in BTO Garden BirdWatch, the largest year-round survey of garden birds in the world, have revealed exciting new results. A greater percentage of gardens in Surrey are visited by Blue and Great Tits than in any other county. As both species lay their eggs this Easter, a new ‘taster’ version of the survey is helping more householders to get involved.

A greater percentage of gardens in
Surrey are visit by Blue Tits than in any
other county.

During an average week last year, 95% and 84% of Surrey gardens were visited by Blue and Great Tits, respectively – the highest percentage for any county in the UK and Ireland. These colourful and acrobatic species are now laying their eggs in garden nest boxes, and local people are taking a front-row seat.

Surrey is the most wooded county in England, which favours Blueand Great Tits whose ancestral habitat in the UK is broadleaved woodland. It is no surprise, therefore, that other woodland birds also feature strongly in local gardens, with Surrey being the best county for the elegant, arrow-shaped Nuthatch, and second best for Great Spotted Woodpeckers – the latter, on average, gracing 40% of local gardens during a typical week.

With so many exciting and important trends emerging, the BTO is encouraging more local people to take part in Garden BirdWatch by trying a new three-week ‘taster’ version of the survey. BTO Garden BirdWatch has run every week since 1995 and already has nearly 500 participants in Surrey alone.

Dr Tim Harrison, BTO Garden BirdWatch, commented: “Local householders can be amazed at the birds that they have on their doorsteps. Surrey supports a tremendous diversity of garden birds, many of which – including the colourful Robin and Jay – are much more common here than people might realise. Locals have charted the success of Blue Tits, Nuthatches and others, while also keeping a watchful eye on those which are struggling, including House Sparrows and Greenfinches.”

He added, “These results demonstrate Citizen Science at its best. Anyone who watches garden birds for at least a few minutes during most weeks can become a BTO Garden BirdWatcher, and the Easter break is a great excuse to get involved! Through the survey, simple observations make a real scientific contribution.”

For a free BTO Garden BirdWatch taster pack, including a copy of the survey’s quarterly magazine Bird Table: email gbw [at], phone 01842-750050 and ask for the Garden BirdWatch team, or write to GBW, BTO, The Nunnery, Thetford, Norfolk, IP24 2PU.

Notes For Editors

1.  Surrey's Top 20

  1. The BTO is the UK’s leading bird research organisation. Over thirty thousand birdwatchers contribute to the BTO’s surveys. They collect information that forms the basis of conservation action in the UK. The BTO maintains a staff of 100 at its offices in Norfolk and Stirling, who analyse and publicise the results of project work. The BTO’s investigations are funded by government, industry and conservation organisations.
  2. 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 15,000 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 

Contact information

Tim Harrison (BTO Garden BirdWatch Development Officer)
Office: 01842 750050 (9am to 5.30pm)
Email: gbw [at]

Paul Stancliffe (BTO Press Officer)
Office:  01842 750050 (9am to 5.30pm)
Mobile:  07585 440910 (anytime)
Email:  press [at] 

Images are available for use alongside this News Release
Please contact images [at] quoting reference 2011-16

The BTO has an ISDN line available for radio interviews
Please contact us to book an interview
Office: 01842 750050 

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