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Crested Tit
Crossbill
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Feral Pigeon
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Goshawk
Great Black-backed Gull
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Great Tit
Greenfinch
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Grey Heron
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Hawfinch
Herring Gull
Hoopoe
House Martin
House Sparrow
Jackdaw
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Pied Flycatcher
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Quail
Raven
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Red-legged Partridge
Redpoll
Redstart
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Reed Bunting
Ring-necked Parakeet
Robin
Rook
Sand Martin
Serin
Short-eared Owl
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Stock Dove
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Willow Tit
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Wood Pigeon
Wren
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Early Bird Survey - 2005

A big thank you to everyone who submitted their observations to the survey.

Observers were asked to get into their observation position before "first light" (i.e. when it was light enough to be able to see the birds, usually about an hour before sunrise) on one morning between Saturday 17th and Friday 23rd December 2005 inclusive, and then record the order and time of arrival of individual species at their garden feeding stations.

A total of 36 submissions were received; 20 from Discussion Board members and the rest from visitors. Of these, 4 were invalid - for example, they were duplicate submissions or the arrival times of birds were after the finish time of the survey - leaving just 32 sets of observations.

Coverage

The regions (the Counties and Districts included within the Regions are detailed here) that provided the most submissions were East of England, North West England, South West England and Yorkshire and the Humber - each providing 4 sets of observations. Eire, Isle of Man, London, Northern Ireland, North West Scotland and Wales provided none.

Most of the gardens (68%) were in suburban areas with the remainder being more or less equally shared between urban and rural.

Habitat Definitions

Regional CoverageGarden Locations

Early Bird

Your observations show that the Blackbird is the first bird to arrive at feeding stations, arriving on average 5 minutes after the time at which you could first see your bird feeders ("first light"). The next two early birds are Robin (6 minutes) and Blue Tit (21 minutes).

Early Birds

Species Average Time After First Light
Blackbird 5 minutes
Robin 6 minutes
Blue Tit 21 minutes
Carrion Crow 22 minutes
Starling 33 minutes
Mistle Thrush 55 minutes

 

Arrival Times

Nationally, the average time after first light that each species arrives at feeding stations is given in the table below.

Blackbird does not appear at the top of the list because they were later at arriving than, for example, Blue tits in gardens where they were not the first bird to arrive. If there had been more observations submitted then it is likely that the ranking of these averages would be the same as the early bird ranking.

Species Average Time After First Light Last Year (Ref. BTO)
Blue Tit 23 minutes 19.5 minutes
Dunnock 26 minutes 22 minutes
Robin 28 minutes 16 minutes
Blackbird 30 minutes 13 minutes
Great Tit 33 minutes 23.5 minutes
Carrion Crow 34 minutes -
Jay 35 minutes -
Starling 36 minutes 29 minutes
House Sparrow 37 minutes 24.1 minutes
Magpie 39 minutes 23.4 minutes
Blackcap 40 minutes -
Wren 41 minutes 23.2 minutes
Coal Tit 42 minutes 25.5 minutes
Chaffinch 45 minutes 28 minutes
Greenfinch 46 minutes 30 minutes
Goldfinch 47 minutes 30.2 minutes
Jackdaw 53 minutes 27 minutes
Song Thrush 54 minutes 21.9 minutes
Nuthatch 56 minutes -
Wood Pigeon 57 minutes 27.7 minutes
Collared Dove 57 minutes 28.8 minutes
Mistle Thrush 62 minutes -
Rook 96 minutes -

Other species that were observed arriving at the feeding stations included: Bullfinch, Fieldfare, Goldcrest, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Herring Gull, Long-tailed Tit, Reed Bunting, Siskin, and a Wagtail species. The arrival times for these have not been included in the analyses because they were reported in only one garden.

Conclusions

Blackbird and Robin are the early birds, the same result as last year, and as the BTO commented last year "this result is perhaps not that unexpected, given that all three species are known to sing at night in areas where there are street lamps".

Once again, a big thank you to everyone who submitted their observations to the survey.


Last revision: 21 Feb 2015
Copyright © David Gains 1999-2017.
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