Scottish gardens hit by blizzard of birds

No.:  2010-12-53
December 2010

The recent snow that has hit Scotland has seen a flurry of birds come into gardens. Scottish householders who participate in the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) Garden BirdWatch have been keeping a close eye on events.

Robin by John Harding 

The Robins have appeared in time to
herald the beginning of Advent

Autumn is traditionally a time when birds return to Scottish gardens but,with near-unprecedented November snowfall, numbers of some species have soared. A trio of well known favourites – Blue Tit, Great Tit and Coal Tit – have led the way, rolling and tumbling through snow-covered shrubs and hopping nimbly onto feeders. Robins have also made a welcome reappearance, just in time to herald the beginning of Advent.

Latest results from the BTO’s Garden BirdWatch reveal that Nuthatches have been darting into gardens in southern Scotland, while in northern Scotland Wrens have found a home in snowy gardens. Fieldfares, large thrushes that migrate to the UK from northern Europe in autumn, have also started to amass in Scottish gardens and should become an increasingly regular sight over the coming weeks.

The relative warmth of our towns and cities and the food that householders provide is likely to prove a lifeline to many birds during periods of inclement weather. Foods such as fruit for thrushes, sunflower hearts for finches and suet for Long-tailed Tits provide rich pickings. Scottish householders can also help by providing clean fresh water for drinking and bathing. Birds need to keep feathers in tip-top condition during winter in order to stay warm.

Tim Harrison, BTO Garden BirdWatch, commented: “The recent dramatic meteorological events in Scotland have been matched by the movements of birds into gardens. Over the next few days Scottish householders can hope to see a range of colourful visitors such as Goldcrest, Great Spotted Woodpecker and Redwing.”

Mandy Cook, BTO Scotland, added: “The snow has left lots of people stuck indoors, gazing out of the window. Scottish householders who participate in the BTO Garden BirdWatch have been putting this time to good use by recording the birds that they have seen which has generated these exciting results.”

For a free guide on feeding garden birds or for more information about BTO Garden BirdWatch please phone 01842 750050, email gbw [at] bto.org or write to BTO, The Nunnery, Thetford, Norfolk, IP24 2PU.

Notes for Editors

  1. Latest BTO Garden BirdWatch results:

      Blue Tit: http://app.bto.org/gbw-dailyresults/results/gbwr436-10.html
      Great Tit: http://app.bto.org/gbw-dailyresults/results/gbwr437-10.html
      Coal Tit: http://app.bto.org/gbw-dailyresults/results/gbwr435-11.html
      Robin: http://app.bto.org/gbw-dailyresults/results/gbwr345-10.html
      Wren: http://app.bto.org/gbw-dailyresults/results/gbwr340-10.html

  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 www.bto.org/gbw

Contact information 

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

Mandy Cook (BTO Scotland Development Coordinator)
Email: press [at] bto.org

Paul Stancliffe (BTO Press Officer)
Office: 01842 750050 (9am to 5.30pm)
Mobile: 07845 900559 (anytime)
Email: press [at] bto.org

Images are available for use alongside this News Release
Please contact images [at] bto.org quoting reference 2010-12-53

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