Blackbirds top of the pops in school bird survey

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Pupils in South Yorkshire schools took part in a national RSPB playground survey to find the country’s commonest birds – with blackbirds found to be the most frequent visitor.

The result matched the UK-wide picture – an average of seven blackbirds per school were spotted, compared with just three last year.

In second place in the county came the wood pigeon, followed by the black-headed gull, the magpie, the blue tit and carrion crow.

Making up the rest of the top 10 were starlings, robins and the collared dove.

Pupils and teachers spent an hour a day between January 20 and February 14 collecting the data, which will be added into the results of the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch, due out tomorrow.

Overall average numbers of birds spotted were down this year – but experts at the charity believe this is more likely to be because of the mild weather.

Availability of natural food sources in the wider countryside meant birds didn’t need to visit school grounds to feed.

Nationally starlings came in second place.