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 16th and Sunday 24th December 2006 inclusive, and then record the order and time of arrival of individual species at their garden feeding stations.
Of the 21 submissions received, 16 were from Discussion Board members (but 2 were invalid) and the rest were from visitors. The invalid surveys were either duplicate submissions or there was something amiss with the survey details.
The regions (the Counties and Districts included within the Regions are detailed here) that provided the most submissions were East Midlands, North West England and Yorkshire and the Humber. The Channel Islands, East of England, Eire, Isle of Man, London, Northern Ireland, South Scotland and Wales provided none.
Most of the gardens (84%) were in suburban areas.
This year your observations show that the Blackbird was still the most common early bird, arriving within 18 minutes of first light in 16 gardens. The next most common early bird was the Robin, followed jointly by Blue Tit, Dunnock, Starling and Carrion Crow.
Interestingly, the Carrion Crow was on average the earliest bird, but was recorded in two gardens only.
|Species||Average Time After First Light|
|Carrion Crow||6 minutes|
|Blue Tit||40 minutes|
The average time after first light that each species arrived at feeding stations is given in the table below.
As last year, Blackbird does not appear at the top of the list because they were later at arriving than Carrion Crows in gardens where they were not the first bird to arrive.
|Species||This Year||Last Year|
|Carrion Crow||6 minutes||34 minutes|
|Blackbird||18 minutes||30 minutes|
|Dunnock||34 minutes||26 minutes|
|Robin||36 minutes||28 minutes|
|Song Thrush||36 minutes||54 minutes|
|Blue Tit||40 minutes||23 minutes|
|Chaffinch||44 minutes||45 minutes|
|House Sparrow||47 minutes||37 minutes|
|Great Tit||49 minutes||33 minutes|
|Goldfinch||53 minutes||47 minutes|
|Collared Dove||55 minutes||57 minutes|
|Wren||58 minutes||41 minutes|
|Greenfinch||58 minutes||46 minutes|
|Starling||60 minutes||36 minutes|
|Coal Tit||62 minutes||42 minutes|
|Wood Pigeon||62 minutes||57 minutes|
|Gt. Sp. W'pecker||67 minutes||-|
|Magpie||69 minutes||39 minutes|
|Long-tailed Tit||102 minutes||-|
Other species that were observed arriving at the feeding stations included: Grey Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, Jackdaw, Nuthatch, Sparrowhawk and Feral Pigeon. The arrival times for these have not been included in the analyses because they were reported in only one garden.
Generally, Blackbirds and Robins are among the early birds, the same result as in past years years, but Dunnocks were on average earlier than Robins this year. However, Carrion Crows were the earliest birds reported, albeit only in two gardens.
While there is not much difference in the arrival times of the earlier birds this year compared with previous years, the later arriving smaller birds, such as Blue Tits, House Sparrows, Great Tits, Wrens, etc., seemed to arrive quite a bit later, which may support the hypotheses that with:
Unfortunately, this is only a tentative observation owing to the small number of records on which the results are based.
A very big thank you to everyone who submitted their observations to the survey.
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