RSPB wants survey help

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A LEADING wildlife charity is asking for volunteers to help gauge how Scotland’s birds fared during the worst winter in 50 years.

RSPB Scotland hopes for more people than ever to take part in the Big Garden Birdwatch on January 29 and 30. The scheme asks residents to spend time over the weekends to watch what birds come to their gardens and report the findings to the charity.

Last year 1104 people in Falkirk took part and the most commonly spotted bird in the area was the house sparrow, making an appearance in 74 per cent of gardens. Other popular species included the starling and blackbird with the goldfinch being one of the lesser spotted, appearing in only 23 per cent of respondents gardens.

Dr Paul Walton, head of habits and species at RSPB Scotland, said: “We cannot be certain of the prolonged cold spell’s impact on Scotland’s birdlife. We do know December was the coldest on record and that many species exhibited stressed behaviour, struggling to find food during the freezing temperatures.”