We have taken part in the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch for quite a few years now and have kept records of our counts since 2012 and thought it would be interesting to compare the results.
Although the house sparrow numbers have fluctuated a little, the sparrow has been a constant visitor. The number recorded doesn't really reflect the actual numbers as they usually arrive in a large groups that scatter around the garden and are constantly on the move. This makes counting really tricky so we have erred on the side of caution when recording the number of visitors.
The starlings also usually arrive in a squabbling mass to make counting tricky but this time we only had one solitary individual, (very unusual for starlings) and so counting was easy.
Spotting a coal tit during the count is very hit and miss and this year we didn't record any and the collared doves also failed to show up. Both are regular visitors.
One worrying absentee from our garden is the goldfinch. We usually have a constant stream of them to feeders. This year since back in spring we have only seen the occasional visitor and none of the usual hoards of juveniles.
Robins are almost a constant presence in the garden and can be guaranteed to show up.
Blackbirds too are usually in evidence but this year not in the numbers we are used to and they don't seem to be as early to spot a newly replenished bird table. I hope that this means they are finding plenty of natural food especially slugs and snails.
Great tits and blue tits can also always be relied upon to turn up for the count. A flock of long tailed tits frequently visit the feeders and this year they sent representatives to actually managed to put in an appearance during the count. Not the usual number though where the best way of assessing their numbers is to count tails.
This year we didn't record any collared doves although we still see them in the garden regularly. Wood pigeon numbers, however have been fairly constant across the years we have recorded.
Another regular visitor is the dunnock, it's often seen foraging on the ground but will also venture onto the bird table.
Chaffinches although I wouldn't class as regulars often seem to make it to the count.
Unlike in 2012, when we recorded a bullfinch and a sparrowhawk, no surprise visitors made it into the count this year.
The total number of birds counted this year has dropped considerably which coincides with our general observations. I hope that the low numbers are due to the birds finding plenty of natural food around rather than a decline in the population.