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    More birds in gardens this year, except blackbirds

    The number of birds in Belgium’s gardens has risen this year, says the Natagora association, based on the results of its traditional bird count, baptised ‘Guess who’s coming to eat in the garden’. This year, the count has revealed a higher average per garden that before. The usual mean ranges between 38 and 40 birds. This year it is around 43.

    However, there is still a cause for concern: blackbirds have been overtaken as the largest contingent of birds present in Belgium, likely because of the Usutu virus which attacks specifically this species. On the other hand, the chickadee population, which was doing badly in 2017, is on the upswing thanks to ideal conditions for reproduction this year, coupled with a very mild winter.

    “Along with the chickadees, many populations of grain-eaters have been booming this year: goldfinch, grosbeak, nutcracker and Eurasian bullfinch. That’s very good news,” the organization says, adding that 2018 is also an excellent year for forest birds which, as in 2006 and 2013, are on the increase.

    According to Natagora, about 6,000 persons participated this year in its operation to count the number of birds present in the country’s gardens.

    Andy Sanchez
    The Brussels Times