More than 92,000 people took part in the RSPB summer survey, counting various species of wildlife in over 69.000 gardens in the U.K. The survey, called Make Your Nature Count, was organized by Richard Bashford of RSPB, who says that the number of residents who responded was deeply satisfying, and expressed his thanks to everyone who participated.
Participants were asked to look for different birds such as robins, blackbirds, thrushes and nesting house martins, to help discern how well (or how poorly) they are breeding and flourishing. They were also asked to look out for small mammals like moles, hedgehogs and roe deer, whose natural habitats are rapidly being depleted. Happily, survey results showed that some creatures are adapting well to less rural settings, and Mr. Bashford noted that U.K. gardeners can do a lot to promote the survival of the country’s precious wildlife.
Hedgehogs, whose rural habitat has been rapidly diminishing, were found in a surprising 30% of urban gardens, which is good news for hedgehogs and for gardeners, as the prickly creatures are great consumers of garden pests, and seem to be quite comfortable in urban areas. Moles were sighted by about 14% of the participants, with the majority in Wales and none in Northern Ireland. About 5% reported the presence of roe deer, almost all in Scotland – but then most people won’t see them except by chance and luck.
Among the kinds of birds counted in the survey, blackbirds, blue tits and woodpigeons were the most numerous, with about 90% of participants reporting their presence in rural and urban gardens. Swifts, jackdaws and greenfinches were the least common, with only about 16% reporting swifts. Migrant birds such as the house martin were spotted by only 4% of people responding.
RSPB urges everyone to get involved, take advantage of all the information made available by RSPB and many other organizations, and help preserve and restore the habitat for imperiled wildlife.