RSPB survey reveals tough time for tits in Suffolk

Blue tit numbers have dropped in Suffolk thanks to a poor breeding season

Picture: Chris Gomersall (rspb-images.com)
Blue tit numbers have dropped in Suffolk thanks to a poor breeding season Picture: Chris Gomersall (rspb-images.com)
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Blue tits have been having a hard time in Suffolk if the results of the RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch are anything to go by.

The agile blue bundles have been knocked off their ‘most seen’ perch by the blackbird and have dropped all the way to fourth place.

Blackbirds have moved to the top spot in Suffolk gardens
Picture:
 Chris Gomersall (rspb-images.com)

Blackbirds have moved to the top spot in Suffolk gardens Picture: Chris Gomersall (rspb-images.com)

The survey held in the last week of January highlighted a downturn in the whole tit family in Suffolk.

Sightings of blue tits were down 17 per cent, great tits by 16 per cent and coal tits by 25 per cent on last year’s figures. Dr Daniel Hayhow, RSPB conservation scientist, said: “Numbers of small bodied birds such as blue tits and great tits are susceptible to changes in weather throughout the year and scientists believe that the prolonged wet weather during the 2016 breeding season led to fewer younger birds surviving than usual, meaning there are fewer to be seen in gardens.”

Blackbirds were seen in 96 per cent of gardens with an average of 3.6 birds per garden. Though blue tits were seen in 86 per cent of gardens the average number per garden were down by 17 to 2.7.

However, robins were seen on more gardens than they have been seen in for 20 years helping them to climb three places in the Suffolk chart.

There were also large numbers of migrant birds across the country, with Scandinavian waxwings appearing widely. They appear in large numbers in the UK every seven or eight years when the berry crop in their homelands is poor.

Dr Hayhow said: “In the lead up to the Birdwatch there was some speculation as to whether we could see a ‘waxwing winter’ and the results prove that to be the case.

“Flocks of these striking looking birds arrived in the UK along the North Sea coast and will have moved across the country in search of food, favouring gardens where they can feast on berries.”

The RSPB had 11,000 people take part in the survey in Suffolk this year and 497,000 nationwide.