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Where Have the Blue Tits Gone?

you have been monitoring the bird activity in your garden this winter, you may have noticed that there aren’t many blue tits around. The British Trust for Ornithology’s (BTO) latest figures have revealed that Blue tit numbers are down and this is probably due to the abnormally wet summer in 2016.

Winter Feeding

During the winter months, food becomes hard to come by in the countryside and so many blue tits visit gardens to take advantage of the feeders. But in November BTO birdwatchers reported the lowest numbers of blue tits since 2003. The data collected shows a 31% reduction in the number of young birds since compared to the average over the last five years.

Wet Summer

It is thought that the fall in the blue tit population is due to the summer weather. Females would have struggled to get into good condition after a cold and wet period in early spring. This would have meant that less eggs were laid. In addition, young birds leaving the nest may have been affected by the wet weather in June. Wet weather during the breeding season makes it hard for adult birds to feed themselves and their chicks.

Poor Breeding Season

In late summer there should be large numbers of young birds coming into gardens to find food but in 2016 the BTO Garden BirdWatch results show the lowest numbers of blue tits seen in August for eight years. The statistics demonstrate that fewer young birds survived than usual. The findings are supported by the preliminary results from the BTO Nest Record Scheme (NRS) and Constant Effort Sites Scheme (CES). These both found that blue tits had their worst breeding season on record.

Further Monitoring Required

Experts are now asking residents to watch bird activity in their gardens and to submit any information on what is happening to the population of blue tits at their property.

The BTO will keep a close watch on how blue tits fare over the winter. Another bad summer in 2017 could spell serious trouble for this much loved species and sightings could become increasingly rare.

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