16th APRIL 2020 - Page 27

JANUARY 23 2020
Call to action
as Tourism
NI launches
awards P28
g Out and About P30 g Artisan Food Hero P31 gCrossword P34
TG4 puts the
spotlight on
NI agri show
scene P29
Bygones: Farmers
on the verge of
revolt 50 years ago
this week P32-33
TOP SPOT: Friends Sophia and Sophie, pictured in Belfast, getting ready to take part in the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch.
PICTURE: Mark McCormick
HE 41st RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch
takes place between January 25 and 27
House sparrows were in top spot in
Northern Ireland in 2019, followed by
starlings, chafnches, goldnches and
blue tits
Over four decades, Big Garden Birdwatch
has highlighted the winners and losers in the
garden bird world
Nearly nine million hours have been spent
watching garden birds since the Birdwatch
began in 1979, with more than 137 million
birds counted
Up to half a million people across the UK are
expected to watch and count their garden
birds during this year’s RSPB Big Garden
The Big Garden Birdwatch is now the world’s
largest garden wildlife citizen science project,
with hundreds of thousands of people
volunteering their time. The survey to date
has provided the RSPB with nearly nine
million hours of monitoring garden birds –
counting 137 million of them.
This year’s event takes place on January 25,
26 and 27. People are asked to spend just
one hour watching and recording the birds
in their garden or local green space and then
submit their results to the RSPB. The results
give an astonishing amount of insight into
how our wildlife is faring.
The house sparrow remained at the top of
the Big Garden Birdwatch rankings as the
most commonly seen garden bird in Northern
Ireland and the rest of the UK last year, with
more than 1.2 million recorded sightings.
There was one new entry in the top 10 in
Northern Ireland in 2019, with coal tits
replacing collared doves at No.10.
For four decades, Big Garden Birdwatch has
highlighted the winners and losers in the
garden bird world. It was one of the rst
surveys to alert the RSPB to the decline in the
number of song thrushes in gardens.
This species was a rm xture in the top 10
in 1979 but 30 years later its numbers were
less than half those recorded in 1979. By 2019,
numbers of song thrushes seen in gardens
have declined by 76 per cent, coming in at
number 20.
Anne-Marie McDevitt, RSPB NI Head of
Species, said: “The popularity of Big Garden
Birdwatch shows just how passionate people
are about their wildlife.


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