RSPB Birdwatch: What is the most spotted bird in NI?

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image copyrightRSPB
image captionOn average five house sparrows were seen in each garden during the RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch

House sparrows were the most common bird spotted in Northern Ireland during a huge garden birdwatch.

Some 14,000 people in Northern Ireland took part in the event, monitoring their gardens for an hour during a weekend at the end of January.

On average, five house sparrows were seen in each garden during the RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch.

After sparrows, the most common birds in order were starlings, goldfinches, chaffinches and blue tits.

This year small garden birds including long-tailed tits, wrens and coal-tits were seen in larger numbers helped by a mild winter.

"Goldfinches are up one place in the list," said Anne Marie McDevitt, the RSPB NI's head of species.

"They are probably doing well because their long fine beak means they can tease out small seeds from common plants like thistles and dandelions."

image copyrightRay Kennedy/RSPB/PA Wire
image captionSmaller birds which struggle in harsher winters were seen in more gardens this year than in 2019

Over its 40 years of existence, the Big Garden Birdwatch has helped track trends in some of our most-loved species.

It helped identify declines in the song thrush which saw a 50% fall in numbers over 30 years to 2009.

It came 20th in this year's UK rankings seen in fewer than one in 10 gardens.

Across the UK, half a million people took part this year, counting nearly eight million birds.

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