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Last Updated: Monday, 26 March 2007, 00:29 GMT 01:29 UK
Chaffinch swoops in for top spot
Chaffinch
Three quarters of Scottish gardens were visited by the chaffinch
The chaffinch is the most common bird to be seen in Scottish gardens, according to a recent survey.

The study, by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), found that the species visited almost three quarters (72.9%) of Scottish gardens.

This amounted to an average of 5.46 birds per garden.

More than 27,000 Scots took part in the charity's Big Garden Birdwatch in January, with at least 6.5 million birds being counted across the UK.

The house sparrow and starling also made it into the top three in Scotland, with averages of 5.09 and 3.83 respectively.

However, the study found fewer songbirds visiting gardens, with blackbirds, song thrushes and robins at their lowest levels for five years.

TOP 10 MOST COMMON GARDEN BIRDS IN SCOTLAND
1 - Chaffinch
2 - House sparrow
3 - Starling
4 - Blue tit
5 - Blackbird
6 - Greenfinch
7 - Great tit
8 - Robin
9 - Dunnock
10 - Goldfinch

The decline could be a result of fewer birds migrating during the mild winter and the abundance of food in the countryside.

The study showed there was also a "significant decline" in the number of greenfinches spotted this year, with the average falling from 2.2 per garden in 2006 to 1.55.

Jonathan Osborne, RSPB Scotland's Birdwatch organiser, said: "It is great that so many people in Scotland helped us this year by spending that hour looking out for garden visitors.

"The event can only ever be a snapshot, but over the years helps us develop an idea of the state of our garden birds which are an important indicator of the environment we all live in, and how that might be changing."

The goldfinch entered the study's top ten for the first time ever.

The increase in sightings has been attributed to the rise in popularity of bird feeders which hold Niger Seed, which the goldfinch is partial to.

The Big Garden Birdwatch has been running since 1979.


SEE ALSO
Public urged to go birdwatching
28 Jan 06 |  England
Eagle worry over new wind farms
28 Jan 06 |  Scotland

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