County gardens ‘vital’ to threatened birds

Family Birdwatching through the living room window, October 2001.
Family Birdwatching through the living room window, October 2001.

The RSPB says Oxfordshire gardens are more important than ever to endangered birds after surveys showed a big decline in some species this year.

More than 10,000 Oxfordshire residents took part in the Big Garden Birdwatch in January, and recorded worrying falls in numbers of some of the country’s best-loved birds.

Starlings, which hit an all-time low in last year’s Birdwatch, had declined by 16 per cent this year. Numbers of house sparrows, bullfinches and dunnocks also fell significantly.

Martin Harper, RSPB conservation director, said: “Gardens make up around four per cent of land area in the UK and their role as habitats for our wildlife is clear.

“They are the places that birds come to for food and shelter when conditions in the countryside are especially tough and together, we can all play a part in making them more welcoming and supportive for wildlife.”