Sparrow & silvereye most common garden birds

16 Jul 2012

 Early results from this year’s Garden Bird Survey show the house sparrow is still the top garden bird, with an average 12.4 sparrows in each surveyed backyard, against 12.7 last year.

The silvereye retains its runner-up position, with an average 9.7 counted (6.1 last year).

By July 13, about 3500 survey returns had come in, with about 2500 online and 1000 paper forms. The total is about 1000 more than at the same time last year. Results are still being entered online, so the figures in the table may change slightly as more results are entered.

Survey organiser Dr Eric Spurr says the jump in silvereye numbers could be because the early winter has forced them out of the forest and into gardens in search of food. Last year the slow start to winter meant silvereyes could find natural food in forested areas.

Some people reported large numbers of birds in their garden. One said: “The form is a little hard to fill out as I get approx 200+ birds on my section as I feed them daily at approx 7.30am winter, 6.30am summer. They are actually waiting for me in the trees.”

Another reported: “There are so many birds on our property it would take an ornithologist to do a full count of all species to be found.” 

Unusual birds reported included a fernbird (1 report), kea (1), New Zealand robin (1), white herons (2) and kookaburras (3). 

The survey started in 2007, and is supported by Landcare Research, Forest & Bird and the Ornithological Society of New Zealand. Dr Spurr says the survey is mapping trends, which could help councils and conservation groups. “The response from participants across the country is fantastic and it helps build up a picture of how both native and introduced birds are faring in our gardens over the years.” 

For more information see here 

 Top 10 garden birds

Species

2012

2011


House sparrow


12.4


12.7


Silvereye


9.7


6.1


Blackbird


2.7


2.4


Starling


2.5


2.7


Tui


1.3


1.2


Myna


1.0


0.9


Chaffinch


0.9


1.0


Fantail


0.9


1.1


Greenfinch


0.8


0.8


Dunnock


0.8


0.4

Top 10 results for 2012 after 2450 returns (compared with 2011 results). (The data are raw data not corrected for regional proportions of households)