Woodpigeons are tops in Greater London's gardens.
Almost 24,000 Londoners contributed to our Big Garden Birdwatch survey, which took place in January, during one of the coldest, snowiest winters for years.. heck it isn't even over now at the start of April!
Thanks to everyone who sent in their reposnes we are able to compare this year's results with those from previous years to give a snapshot of long-term changes in bird populations. The cold weather encased naturally occuring food and water supplies away in ice and snow this year, so birds had to rely on food we all put out to survive. We fear it may have had a serious impact on the populations of our smaller birds. Our Make Your Nature Count summer survey will give us more information. See the attached pdf for this year's top ten London results [to access the file, scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on RSS Feed].
The cold weather brought out more house sparrows, blue tits and blackbirds than 2009, but this was more in desperation than choice as they all sought food to give them the energy to maintain body temperatures. The harder they looked, the more energy they used and the more likely they were to succumb to the freezing conditions. This is exactly why feeding garden birds is so important. Now we're at the start of the breeding season and the cold weather's back. I've just had my winter energy bill and that was a killer. Imagine what it's been like for our wildlife ... Time to top up those feeders and water bowls once again.
Swifts have been recorded in Italy heading towards the UK.. I wonder if they'll head back south or simply decide to stop off enroute in any milder conditions.
Our amazing peregrine falcons are also worrying me right now. We have more than twenty pairs in Greater London and all appear to be a bit late laying this year. Working with British Telecom we've been able to install a webcam on a new nest site in central London. As I write there are no eggs but we're hoping the female will use the nestbox we installed with help from the London Peregrine Partnership - the gravel was supplied by friends from The Royal Parks. Thank you to all who've helped.
The webcam's a great way to share wildlife but there's nothing like seeing it for real. If you fancy seeing Herons up close and personal, we'll be down at Regent's Park over the next few weekends with telescopes and some of our brilliant volunteers to tell you more about the wildlife you'll be able to see there.
Enjoying nature is incredibly relaxing and therapeutic too. We've a special offer for followers of this blog. We'll be at UK Aware on the 16 and 17 April. UK Aware is the UK's leading green and ethical lifestyle show at Olympia and RSPB members can take advantage of a special advance ticket discount offer by clicking here. You can get a normal adult ticket for less than half price. Come and see us at stand 14 and find out more about discovering and enjoying London's natural spaces and wildlife.