Most of 2016 was warmer than average, but this didn’t mean that life was always easy for birds. Mild temperatures over the 2015/16 winter probably resulted in good over-winter survival of small garden birds, and numbers of Wrens, Coal Tits and Goldcrests were all high in gardens during the early part of the year. However, although birds escaped severe freezes, they were battered by storms and wet weather.
While the winter was mild, the spring was chilly – April was much colder than average, and birds such as Blackcaps and Long-tailed Tits lingered in gardens much later than normal. Spring got going properly in May, but June saw extremely wet and unsettled weather across southern areas. This bad weather came at just the wrong time for Blue and Great Tits, which both had extremely poor nesting success this year.
Late summer and early autumn were particularly warm, though very wet at times, and there did not appear to be any shortages of natural food supplies, as there were no extremely high counts of seed-eating birds at our feeders. The year ended as it began, with overall mild temperatures, though cold spells in November and early December drove up Redwing and Song Thrush numbers in gardens.