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    Blue tits and great tits less evident in our gardens

    © Belga
    Blue tits and great tits have less of a presence in our gardens.
    © Belga

    The average number of birds observed in our gardens is lower than normal owing to a reduced presence of blue tits and great tits. This is according to the provisional results of Operation “Guess who is coming to eat in our garden?”

    This year’s project was organised this weekend (February 4th and 5th) by the countryside protection association, Natagora.

    The average number of birds observed per garden – out of more than 4,100 gardens counted so far – has this year increased to a little under 36 whilst in general, between 38 and 40 have been recorded.

    Natagora stresses, “This difference may not look like much but, it reflects without doubt, all the same, a reduced presence. This is not of birds in general but certain species.”

    Blue tits and great tits are particularly discreet this year in feeding dishes and other so-called “titmice food”, which certain owners have put out in their gardens.

    Jean-Yves Paquet, who is an ornithologist with Natagora, explains, “Both species not only appear less frequently (are seen in fewer gardens) but are also less abundant (less individual birds per garden). We think that it results from a very poor reproductive season last spring, and also the fact that individual northern migrating birds are almost absent.”

    We have to go back to February 2014, with 33.7 individual birds per garden to find fewer individual birds observed. Spring 2013, as with 2016, was marked by particularly unfavourable weather conditions.

    Going back to the present 2017 Operation “Guess who is eating in my garden?”, it is the blackbird who is the most frequent species in our gardens. However, for the first time since 2004, the robin is “shoulder-to-shoulder” with the great tit, both provisionally finishing second. If confirmed, second place for the robin would be a first for Natagora.

    Christopher Vincent
    The Brussels Times