RSPB annual birdwatch count is much higher because of coronavirus lockdowns

The RSPB runs an annual garden birdwatching survey which anyone can participate in and they report the birds that they spot in their back garden online on the RSPB website or an affiliated website. The charity says that participants in the Big Garden Birdwatch on January 29-31, in which people spend an hour watching birds in the garden recording the species they see, were up by 85% on last year’s figures.

Birdwatching count run by the RSPB is massively up because of Covid-19

Birdwatching count run by the RSPB is massively up because of Covid-19. Picture: Pixabay.

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The Times tells me that twice as many birds have been counted in this year’s annual birdwatch thanks to the coronavirus lockdowns. They report that so far this year 15,653,819 have been spotted whereas last year more than 470,000 people counted 7,833,350 birds. The species most often seen is the house sparrow. People who took part in the birdwatch for January have until Monday to submit results.

For a while, the website for reporting bird sightings was overloaded and failed to work properly. People have until February 19 to submit their results. Nearly half a million people participated in 2019. This year the number appears to be much higher. This year, also, the house sparrow, as reported by the Times, is maintaining its number one spot with well over 1 million counted so far.

Blue tits are in second spot at 705,000 recorded and starlings came third at 652,000. Fourth and fifth were blackbirds and wood pigeons respectively. The chief executive of the RSPB, Beccy Speight is delighted with the huge levels of participation. She said: “The huge levels of participation in the Big Garden Birdwatch this weekend are a testament to the power of nature to uplift and comfort us during these challenging times. A big thank you to everyone who has taken part – what an incredible response.”

Comment: you have to be pleased by the results and say that the coronavirus pandemic, which has been and continues to be so awful for the vast majority of people has been beneficial to nature in very many ways, including birdlife. There must be a lesson to be learned, but I doubt whether it will be. Pollution levels have also dramatically reduced. But they have also regained their previous levels equally quickly. I was cautiously optimistic that humankind could have changed some of its habits over the coronavirus pandemic in seeing the benefits to the environment. I doubt it now.

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