Survey records fall in songbirds

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NUMBERS of baby songbirds in South Yorkshire gardens have fallen dramatically compared with last year, according to a survey by the RSPB wildlife charity.

The results of the RSPB’s annual Make Your Nature Count survey show the number of the county’s gardens with baby song thrushes in them this spring was down by more than 30 per cent from 2011. Sightings of baby blackbirds were also down on last year by 14 per cent.

The RSPB says the drop may be a result of wet and cold weather in the early part of the breeding season making it harder for adult birds to find enough food for their chicks. With adult birds spending longer away from the nest searching for food, chicks would also have been more exposed to the cold.

Nationally, more than 78,000 people took part in the survey during the first week of June and logged the birds and other wildlife seen in their gardens.

Grey squirrels were the most common wild mammal recorded in South Yorkshire and were reported in more than two thirds of gardens, with hedgehogs seen in nearly half of gardens.

One per cent of South Yorkshire gardens surveyed were recorded as having slow worms in them, the first time they have been included.