Monday, January 28, 2019

The National Dutch Bird Count

The sparrow remains the most common bird to be seen in Dutch gardens. Every January tens of thousands of Dutch people take part in a National Garden Bird Count. Since 2001 citizen scientists across the Netherlands have recorded the different species of birds visiting their gardens in the last weekend of January. This year's count took place over this last weekend and the results are already in.

The National Garden Bird Count results page includes an interactive map which allows you to view the numbers of different species of birds spotted in each region of the Netherlands over the  weekend. Select a bird from the map menu and you can view a choropleth map showing how many birds of that species were counted by the volunteer citizen scientists during Friday 25th, Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th January 2019.

The National Garden Bird Count is an important tool for evaluating the health of different bird species. For example in recent years the count has recorded a decrease in blackbirds. A virus may be to blame for this decrease. The National Garden Bird Count could provide an invaluable tool in helping to track the spread of this virus across the different regions of the Netherlands.

The sparrow is also the most populous bird in UK gardens. The UK Big Garden Birdwatch also took place this weekend. Unfortunately the RSPB don't seem to be so keen on publishing maps as their Dutch counterparts. You can view the top ten list of birds counted across the UK in last year's count on the Big Garden Birdwatch results page.

The UK Big Garden Birdwatch has been an annual event in the UK for 40 years. Even though the house sparrow was the most counted bird in 2018 the number of house sparrows in British gardens has fallen by 57% over the last 40 years. The number of starlings has fallen by 80% and the number of song thrushes by 75%.

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