According to The British Trust for Ornithology, we are seeing a boom in visitor numbers from our feathered friends. Blackcaps – normally found in Spain at this time of year have increased fourfold since 1970. They fly here from the Iberian Peninsula and North Africa and breed in our woodlands, hedgerows and gardens. It is thought that their new migratory path is down to the provision of supplementary food. Likewise goldfinches, long-tailed tits and bullfinches numbers have increased
There is even scientific evidence that seems to point towards a new strain of blackcap gradually evolving. This is due to the fact that blackcaps that would not normally come into contact with each other are breeding. It appears this particular bird is here to stay.
The aptly named Robin Parker, head of Sales and Marketing at North-west based greenhouse designers, Gabriel Ash offers his thoughts:
“We are hearing increasing reports of bird sightings, especially during the winter months. Gardens create excellent habitats for wildlife, and this can only be a good thing … we want to encourage our customers to welcome all species into their garden.”
The news isn’t all positive though. It appears these birds are rather aggressive and are bullying other birds away from the bird table. This change in migratory behaviour may be benefitting blackcaps, but may have a detrimental effect on some of our more traditional garden birds.
The BTO is asking people who spot blackcaps to take five minutes and observe their behaviour. They would like to know what the birds are eating, male to female ratio and whether they are indeed preventing other birds from feeding.
You can contact them here http://www.bto.org/gbw