THE robin is Tyrone’s top bird after being spotted in 93 per cent of gardens, according to an RSPB survey.
Along with the chaffinch, house sparrow and goldfinch, the red breasted bird is one of the top species in local gardens.
Sightings of the beautiful jay have increased in Tyrone, perhaps as a spin off of the poor acorn crop in autumn.
The RSPB ‘Big Garden Birdwatch’ also revealed that some of the UK’s most threatened and best-loved bird species are continuing to decline. Starlings, a ‘red-listed’ species, hit an all-time low in the Birdwatch last year and their numbers sunk by a further 16 per cent in gardens this year.
Numbers of house sparrows, also on the red-list, dropped by 17 per cent in gardens compared to 2012, whilst bullfinches and dunnocks, both amber-listed, fell by 20 per cent and 13 per cent respectively.
Commenting on the results, Martin Harper, RSPB Conservation Director said: ”We know from the many people who take part in Big Garden Birdwatch every year that garden birds are incredibly precious to us and connect us to nature every day.
“But, several of our familiar and best-loved species have been declining at alarming rates over the 34 years that the RSPB has been running the Birdwatch and this year’s results show a continuing decline.”
“We go to great lengths to ensure that special UK habitats are given the right levels of designation and legal protection because of their role in supporting threatened wildlife, but what’s very clear is that every one of our gardens, the places literally on our doorsteps, are important too.”
Almost 590,000 people across the UK took part in the Birdwatch in January, including over 10,000 in Northern Ireland.
Ciara Friers, RSPB NI said: “Our results often paint a different picture to other parts of the UK, it is very important that as many people participate in the survey to help identify species decline and give us an idea of how are birds are faring -they are a great indicator of a healthy countryside.”
Do something now to help the wildlife in your garden, find out how at www.rspb.org.uk/hfw
Visit www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch and www.rspb.org.uk/schoolswatch to find out more about Big Garden Birdwatch.