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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 March, 2005, 09:37 GMT
House sparrow tops garden survey
House sparrow, BBC
The house sparrow tops the table for the highest number of sightings in the UK's annual Big Garden Birdwatch.

An average of 4.56 sparrows per garden were seen during the count, conducted over the weekend of 29-30 January.

Even so, this represents a huge decline in numbers from the first such survey organised by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds back in 1979.

Then, an average of 10 sparrows per garden were observed; it means over the period there has been a 54% decline.

House sparrow - 4.56 (1)
Starling - 3.63 (2)
Blue tit - 2.90 (3)
Blackbird - 2.42 (4)
Greenfinch - 1.83 (5)
Chaffinch - 1.71 (6)
Collared dove - 1.51 (7)
Woodpigeon - 1.43 (8)
Great tit - 1.39 (9)
Robin - 1.28 (10)
Last year's position in brackets

The sparrow took top spot last year from the starling. It averaged 3.63 birds per garden - again, a massive drop on 1979, when 15 could be seen over the two-day period.

The blue tit completes the top three.

Nearly 400,000 people watched their gardens and local parks during Big Garden Birdwatch.

Over six million birds were recorded and 210,000 gardens surveyed.

Richard Bashford, the Big Garden Birdwatch co-ordinator, said: "Big Garden Birdwatch allows hundreds of thousands of people to get involved with a project that tells us how some of our best loved birds are faring.

"This sort of survey enables the RSPB to understand more about the population trends of UK garden birds."

He added: "For the first time ever, we asked those who took part in the Big Garden Birdwatch online if they provided food and what food their birds were feeding on.

"An amazing 92% of people put food out and the commonest bird coming to food was the blue tit, which was seen at feeding stations in 72% of gardens surveyed."

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