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.
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.
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).
|Species||Average Time After First Light|
|Blue Tit||21 minutes|
|Carrion Crow||22 minutes|
|Mistle Thrush||55 minutes|
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||-|
|Starling||36 minutes||29 minutes|
|House Sparrow||37 minutes||24.1 minutes|
|Magpie||39 minutes||23.4 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|
|Wood Pigeon||57 minutes||27.7 minutes|
|Collared Dove||57 minutes||28.8 minutes|
|Mistle Thrush||62 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.
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.
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