Birds survive thanks to kind-hearted residents

WILD birds survived the recent winter in Whitby and district thanks to increasing number of people feeding them in their gardens.

In North Yorkshire, more than 11,500 people took part in the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch and their counts revealed some of the smaller birds that decreased in numbers last year bounced back this year.

Sightings of goldcrests the UK’s smallest birds trebled, long tailed tits increased by sixty per cent and coal tits by thirty-four per cent.

The long, harsh winter of 2009/2010 hit birds like long-tailed tits, goldcrests and coal tits hard with all three species dropping significantly in last year’s Big Garden Birdwatch.

Although smaller birds can be particularly badly affected by harsh winters, a good breeding season can help reverse declines, and these new results suggest that may have been the case in 2010.

Thousands of people were also lucky enough to see waxwings, striking birds that flood to Britain from Scandinavia every few winters and this year saw an influx, known as a “waxwing winter”.

Waxwings are bold birds that are comfortable feeding around our towns and cities, and more than 7,000 were counted in this year’s survey, in almost 1,000 gardens.

RSPB scientist Mark Eaton said: “We knew this was going to be a bumper year for waxwings as we’d had so many reports from all over the country.

“They only come into gardens if the right food is available. They feed on berries so it shows that lots of people are planting the right things for wildlife and reaping the rewards.”

More 609,177 people counted over 10.2 million birds. Over 70 species were recorded in 300,780 gardens across the UK over the weekend 29 and 30 January.