A milder winter has helped many small garden birds thrive across the East of England according to the RSPB.

The RSPB's 41st Big Garden Bird Watch survey placed the House Sparrow at the top of the region's bird rankings.

Almost half a million people across the UK spent an hour during the last weekend of January 2020 watching birds visit their garden or outdoor space with nearly 8 million birds counted in total.

“Small birds suffer during long, cold winters but the warmer January weather this year appears to have given species such as the wren and long-tailed tit a boost. Over the survey’s lifetime, we’ve seen the increasing good fortunes of birds such as the coal tit and goldfinch and the alarming declines of the house sparrow and starling. ”

Daniel Hayhow, RSPB Conservation Scientist

The RSPB say numbers of House Sparrow have been in decline ever since the Big Garden Birdwatch started in 1979, down by 53 per cent.

But in the most recent decade (2010-2020) numbers appear to have increased by 10 per cent suggesting that a partial recovery may be happening.

  • Although ranked in third in figures overall for England, the Blue tit was the most popular bird in gardens across Hertfordshire and second most popular in Norfolk and Suffolk.

The Blue tit was the third most popular bird in England, but in Hertfordshire it ranked as the most popular. Credit: Ray Kennedy, RSPB images.com
  • 1 - House Sparrow

  • 2 - Starling

  • 3 - Blue tit

  • 4 - Wood pigeon

  • 5 - Blackbird

  • 6 - Goldfinch

  • 7 - Great tit

  • 8 - Robin

  • 9 - Long tailed tit

  • 10 - Magpie

The Woodpigeon was the fourth most common bird overall across England. Credit: Chris Gomersall, RSPB-images.com

"Despite everything that’s going on in the world, nature is still doing its thing. Birds are singing and blossom is bursting. Watching wildlife, whether from a window or a balcony or even online, can offer many of us hope, joy and a welcome distraction, and so we are keen to help you carry on connecting with the natural world."

Beccy Speight, the RSPB’s Chief Executive
  • 11 - Chaffinch

  • 12 - Collared Dove

  • 13 - Dunnock

  • 14 - Jackdaw

  • 15 - Feral pigeon

  • 16 - Coal tit

  • 17 - Carrion crow

  • 18 - Greenfinch

  • 19 - Wren

  • 20 - Song thrush