House sparrow most common garden bird in Flanders

House sparrow most common garden bird in Flanders
Photo by Lia Maaskant on Unsplash.

The house sparrow remains the most common bird visiting gardens in Flanders, followed by the great tit and finch, according to a survey conducted last weekend.

The Great Bird Weekend of Natuurpunt, the Flemish volunteer environmental group, counted 777,168 birds in 25,093 gardens. On average, counters spotted 23 birds of 7 species per garden, Natuurpunt reports. Use this link to view the Natuurpunt report.

“Fortunately, the house sparrow retains its first place. But the numbers have decreased in recent years, so we must continue to focus on shelters and breeding grounds if we really want to save them,” Gerald Driessens, bird expert at Natuurpunt, said in a statement.

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Weather conditions influence the annual survey, which relies on volunteer counters. This year, 47,750 people participated in the count. The pleasant weather included a lot of sun on Sunday. Bird counters did not note a significant invasion of winter birds from the North.

Natuurpunt is now evaluating the data to determine what longer-term trends are occurring with the resident bird population. Already, Natuurpunt experts note some population shifts.

“For example, the jackdaw, which has consistently been in the top four for the past five years, has now dropped to sixth place. But above all, the further analysis will have to make clear how those relationships have deepened,” Driessens said.

The 2022 Natuurpunt top 10 birds spotted in Flanders (2021 ranking in brackets):

1. House sparrow (1)
2. Great tit (2)
3. Tick (3)
4. Blue tit (6)
5. Wood pigeon (7)
6. Chew (4)
7. Blackbird (7)
8. Collared dove (8)
9. Magpie (9)
10. Starling (11)

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