Argyllshire Advertiser

Looking out for nature


Now in its 42nd year, the Big Garden Birdwatch is a chance for people of all ages to count the number of birds that visit their garden, helping the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds build up a picture of how they are doing.

This year, more than a million people across the UK, including more than 78,000 in Scotland, took part, counting 17 million birds.

The event, held over the last weekend in January, revealed the house sparrow held on to its number one spot, but 10 out of the top 20 bird species showed declines in average numbers in Scotland compared to last year.

Starlings remained in second place, but numbers were down 14 per cent compared to 2020. Goldfinche­s saw the greatest decline in Scotland’s top 10, falling four places from sixth position last year, with reported numbers 47 per cent fewer than 2020.

I am absolutely delighted with the number of people who have taken part, making it the biggest year ever for RSPB Scotland. Of course, this has generated a massive amount of data which will help our scientists with important conservati­on work, but it also shows how many of us have turned to nature after what has been a very difficult 12 months.

We need every voice raised to stand up for nature. The wildlife that brings us so much interest and solace is now just a fraction of what should be there.

Big Garden Birdwatch has shown that people across Scotland have a real passion for wildlife. We now need government to take the global leadership, policy and legislativ­e opportunit­ies open to it this year to reverse the decline and restore nature now.

Anne McCall, director of RSPB Scotland.

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