Sparrows most common Derry birds

House sparrow (right) and chaffinch are the most common birds in Derry gardens - but their numbers are falling
House sparrow (right) and chaffinch are the most common birds in Derry gardens - but their numbers are falling

House sparrows and chaffinches are the most common birds in Derry gardens but experts have warned their numbers are on decline.

The RSPB said the results of their Big Garden Birdwatch survey 2013 - which involved more than 10,000 people in the north counting the birds in their garden over a weekend in January - show both sparrow and chaffinch numbers falling by more than 15% on last year despite being the most common bird across county Derry.

Ciara Friers, RSPB NI said the Big Garden Bird Watch - the world’s largest wildlife survey - is vital in detailing bird numbers both locally and across the UK.

“Our results often paint a different picture to other parts of the UK, it’s so important that lots of people take part in the survey to help identify species decline and to find out how garden birds are faring-they are a great indicator of a healthy countryside.

“The lack of food further north drove more unusual birds into our gardens with increased numbers of the beautiful waxwing and brambling.”

In Co Derry the top three sightings were house sparrow, chaffinch and starling. Blackbirds and robins were recorded in over 90 per cent of Derry gardens.

More information is available online at www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch