I’ve carried out two more Garden Bird Surveys since my last update. Here are two graphs which is a good way to highlight the main trends (note the two different scales). Siskins had one more good season but there was virtually no sign of them last winter. I finally got a Nyger feeder and even though I only put it up in January the dramatic effect it had on Goldfinch and Redpoll numbers is evident.
Oran O’Sullivan coordinates this survey for Birdwatch Ireland and it was great to meet him last year at a talk he gave in Naas for our Kildare branch. In his analysis of the 2014/15 results (Wings No. 79) he noted that ‘the winter had no snow events, no cold snaps, and hence fewer noticeable movements of birds into gardens’. He confirmed the scarcity of Siskins – due mainly to a good seed harvest in conifer forests – traditionally, Siskins make a late-winter appearance in gardens when the cone harvest in plantations is depleted. He also noted the huge movement of Goldfinches into gardens from an occurrence in just six gardens in 1994/95 to 588 gardens in 2014/15. I shot this video in January 2013.