Highlands & Islands

House sparrow rule roost in Scotland's gardens

House sparrow Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption House sparrows are one of the UK's most threatened bird species

House sparrows were the most commonly spotted bird in gardens in Scotland, according to an RSPB survey.

More than 43,000 people across Scotland took part in the Big Garden Birdwatch held on 24-25 January.

Starlings were the second most seen bird followed by chaffinches. Tree sparrows were ranked 16 - their highest position for 10 years.

Coal tits had the biggest fall in the rankings, going from number nine last year to 13 in 2015.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Starling were ranked second following the birdwatch
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption There were fewer sightings of migrant visitors including waxwings

The RSPB said there was a "notable decline" in the numbers of some winter migrants that were spotted over the birdwatch weekend.

Fewer sightings of bramblings and waxwings may have been because of good conditions on the continent over the winter, reducing the need for these birds to migrate to Scotland.

Keith Morton, species policy officer at RSPB Scotland, said the top two birds are among the UK's most threatened species.

He said: "It's great that so many people took part in this year's Big Garden Birdwatch.

"Both house sparrows and starlings, the top two birds in our 2015 results, are red list species, and so your results help us at RSPB Scotland to paint a picture of how they and other birds are faring over winter."

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