House sparrow most spotted bird in NL, blackbird recovering
The house sparrow was again the most counted bird in Dutch gardens during the national bird counting weekend. The bird has been on the top of the list for years in the annual National Garden Bird Count, an event organized by Vogelbescherming Nederlands. The great tit is in second place. The blackbird, in third place, was seen in more gardens on average again this year than in years past.
Garden bird counters had to count how many birds they saw for half an hour in their own environment and report this to the bird counting website. So far, over 146,000 participants have counted more than 2 million birds. "Given the strong wind and the mild weather, which means that fewer birds can be seen in the gardens, a nice result," said Vogelbescharming. Last year, nearly 200,000 people took part. Data can still be submitted until noon on Monday.
The number of blackbirds fell by 30 percent in the past years, but there seems to be a cautious recovery this year, said a Vogelbescherming spokesperson. "After the outbreak of the usutu virus in 2016, this songbird was only seen in two-thirds of the gardens. Now it concerns three-quarters of the garden. So things are looking favorable for the time being. The coming years will show whether the recovery perseveres."
The house sparrow has been the leader in the count for years. "House sparrows live in large groups, which means that this species comes in first place in absolute numbers," according to Vogelbescherming. The blue tit is in fourth place this year, just below the blackbird. The jackdaw is in number five, followed by the finch at sixth, the wood pigeon at seventh, the magpie at eighth, the Collared Dove at ninth, and the robin at tenth.
Reporting by ANP.