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Last Updated: Monday, 26 March 2007, 01:22 GMT 02:22 UK
Gardens 'attract fewer songbirds'
A robin
Robins are among the birds spotted less in gardens this winter
Fewer songbirds visited UK gardens this winter than last year - with the numbers for some species at a five-year low, a survey for the RSPB suggests.

The number of song thrushes spotted in gardens has fallen 65% in a year, while the number of blackbirds fell by 25%.

The RSPB blamed the mild European winter and a bumper countryside fruit crop, meaning the birds did not have to visit UK gardens for food as often.

Some 6.5m birds were counted in 236,000 gardens for the RSPB on 27-28 January.

More than 400,000 people took part in the Big Garden Birdwatch.

Many birds will struggle to cope with the altered weather patterns
Ruth Davis

Some 41,000 children participated in the Big Schools' Birdwatch, involving 1,200 schools.

The RSPB's head of climate change policy Ruth Davis said birds would adapt their behaviour to suit changing conditions.

"A snapshot in winter gives only part of the picture, but the varying birds visiting our gardens is one example of the impact climate change is having on the natural world," she said.

"Although the mild winter seems to have provided more food for song thrushes in the countryside this year, as changes to our climate become more extreme many birds will struggle to cope with the altered weather patterns."

The number of robins spotted has also fallen, according to the survey.

It suggests the house sparrow is the most common garden bird, followed by the starling and the blue tit.


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