Pink is in. Yes, there is a new entrant into the top 10 and it seems to have got people excited (including me because it is my favourite bird). For the first time the long-tailed tit has made it into the hit parade of garden birds, ousting last season’s new star, the goldfinch.
It is believed to be due to the mild winters of the past two years (these tiny birds are susceptible to cold) and the fact that although they are usually a woodland bird they have adapted to feed on birdtables, feeders and, in particular fat balls. In the winter these birds travel round in family groups, so if you see one, there will be several more on the way. By now they have paired up for the breeding season so you are only likely to see one or two at a time. Look out for them gathering moss and spiders’ webs for their nests (they presumably eat any spiders they find), although they are only tiny they are easy to spot and recognise and they are not the quietest of birds.
Other winners this year included woodpigeon and collared doves which are being spotted more often in gardens (certainly in mine). On the losing side are still the sparrow and starling whose numbers still show a decline. Don’t worry about the goldfinches though, numbers are still high, just not as high as the little pink fluffy long-tailed tits.
More information about the results of the survey can be found on the RSPB’s website.