'Birds need us and we need them' - Birdwatch results showcase 'startling' bird decline

  • Watch as Kieran Macfadzean speaks to Anabelle Ruston about the big garden Birdwatch.

The RSPB big garden Birdwatch has showcased the "startling" decline in bird numbers since surveys began.

The Birdwatch found that the House Sparrow celebrated its 20th year as the number one bird spotted in UK gardens.

The decline in bird numbers though have seen 22 million fewer House Sparrows since 1966.

In Cumbria 6,418 people took part this year, with the House Sparrow taking the top spot as the most commonly seen bird, followed by the Blue Tit and Starling.

Annabelle Ruston, from the RSPB Haweswater, said: “The big garden birdwatch results this year have shown that the House Sparrow was number one in the results and it has been in that top spot for 20 years.

"But because we've been gathering this data for over 40 years that began, bird watchers have been running. We know that their numbers have actually massively declined. 1.5 million house sparrows were counted over the began birdwatch weekend, which sounds like a massive number. That's all we know from the results that we've lost 22 million of them in the last 60 years.

“Some of it is to do with the way that we intensively manage the land through agriculture and development changes to the way that people manage their gardens even can have a big impact when you install plastic grass and decking and using pesticides.

"There's obviously a changing climate that is having an impact on things like pollution and disease impact on them as well. So it's a whole host of factors, unfortunately."

What are the 10 most common birds in Cumbria?

  • House Sparrow

  • Blue Tit

  • Starling

  • Blackbird

  • Chaffinch

  • Goldfinch

  • Jackdaw

  • Robin

  • Woodpigeon

  • Great Tit

Despite the substantial decline in numbers there is hope for positivity amongst certain species.

Anabelle Ruston added: "So it's not all bad news. We've seen from the results of the begun bird watch that some birds like Goldfinches and Great Tits are doing really well, and that's likely to be linked to the public feeding garden birds in their own gardens and in their own green spaces.

“Well, the thing is we are in a climate and nature emergency. You know, a lot of our most incredible species and the habitats that they live in a room, the threat and birds are a really big indicator of the health of the environment that we live in. So the air we breathe and the water that we drink, they really show us whether our environment is healthy or not.

“So they are really important to our own health and wellbeing. There's also been lots of studies to show that our interactions with nature are really good for our mental and physical health.

"So birds need us and we need them."

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