Northern Ireland news

House sparrows once again most spotted bird in Northern Ireland gardens

House sparrows remain the most spotted birds in Northern Ireland gardens and green spaces. According to the Big Garden Birdwatch, which is organised by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), other birds making it into the top five in Northern Ireland this year were starlings, goldfinches, chaffinches and blue tits
Marie Louise McConville

HOUSE sparrows remain the most spotted birds in Northern Ireland gardens and green spaces.

According to the Big Garden Birdwatch, which is organised by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), other birds making it into the top five in Northern Ireland this year were starlings, goldfinches, chaffinches and blue tits.

In addition, Robins and magpies both hopped up a spot this year, into seventh and eighth spots, respectively.

Collared doves flew into the top 10 in Northern Ireland this year replacing coal tits, while sightings of goldfinches and robins were up on last year.

Almost half a million people across the UK - just under 14,000 people in the north - took part in the one-hour exercise in January, spotting almost eight million birds in the gardens and green spaces.

Anne-Marie McDevitt, RSPB NI Head of Species, said: "The Northern Ireland results show the house sparrow holding on firmly to the number one spot.

"Goldfinches are up one place in the list. They are probably doing well because their long fine beak means they can tease out small seeds from common plants like thistles and dandelions. And collared doves have pushed coal tits out of the top 10 in Northern Ireland. This beautiful dove was first recorded breeding in the UK in 1955 after rapidly spreading across Europe from the Middle East.

"These are, of course, unsettling times for all of us, but we hope that nature can provide a welcome respite wherever people may encounter it and we hope people enjoy finding out about the Big Garden Birdwatch results".

Rank 2020

1 House sparrow

2 Starling

3 Goldfinch

4 Chaffinch

5 Blue tit

6 Blackbird

7 Robin

8 Magpie

9 Great tit

10 Collared dove

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Northern Ireland news