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Last Updated: Saturday, 27 January 2007, 05:36 GMT
UK's bird watching event begins
A house sparrow
The number of house sparrows counted has also fallen by 52%.
Thousands of people are expected to spend an hour this weekend taking part in a national survey of garden birds.

The Big Garden Bird Watch, organised every year by the RSPB, aims to find out which species are the most common visitors to UK gardens.

Last year, a record-breaking 470,000 people took part the survey and counted eight million birds in 270,000 gardens.

Since the event began in 1979, the number of starlings counted has dropped by 72%, the charity said.

Prioritise conservation efforts

The number of house sparrows counted has also fallen by 52%.

However, the greenfinch and wren have both seen their numbers increase over the past 27 years by 67% and 140% respectively.

The blackbird was the most widespread of species noted last year - recorded in 94% of all gardens.

The scheme originally began as an activity for children who were members of the Young Ornithologists Club.

Participants are asked to send the results to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, who use the information to record patterns in bird numbers and prioritise conservation efforts.


Is your garden a paradise for birds? Have you spotted anything rare where you live?

You can email your pictures to yourpics@bbc.co.uk or you can text them to 61124.

When taking photos or filming please do not endanger yourself or others, take unnecessary risks or infringe any laws.




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