Earlier this year we encouraged you to help put East Sussex on the ornithological map by taking part in the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch.

And as this week is Garden Wildlife Week, it seemed appropriate to check out the results and see how our county compares to other parts of the UK.

Who is number one?

So (pause for drum roll)…the most frequently spotted bird in East Sussex gardens in 2022 is…yes, you guessed it, the house sparrow. Although still declining in numbers, this little brown bird still ranks at No.1 both here and across the country. In the hour-long survey, an average of more than 4.5 sparrows were spotted in our gardens.

In fact, for the top five ranking birds, our results mirrored those across the country. Second was the blue tit, the starling came third, fourth was the wood pigeon, while the fifth most frequent visitor was the famously tuneful blackbird.

One for sorrow, two for joy

However, after the top five the results become a little more interesting. Coming in at No.6 in East Sussex, somewhat surprisingly, was the magpie. This only ranked No.9 across the rest of the country. And the magpie population here appears to have rocketed in the past year with garden sightings up almost 11 per cent.

We also seem to have more jackdaws than other counties. This member of the crow family made it to No.9 in our list, but didn’t feature in the UK top 10.

As always, there was good news and bad news for various species of birds in East Sussex. The full list of results show it’s a good year for blue tits, magpies, robins, starlings, crows, jackdaws and thrushes. But with the positives also go the worrying negatives. There has been a huge decline in long-tailed tits (down 40 per cent on last year), and other significant drops in the number of goldfinches, coal tits and wrens spotted in our gardens.

Anyway, don’t stop watching the birds in your garden. Now is an especially great time with baby birds fledging and making their way into the wider world – often still being fed by their parents even though they’re no longer in the nest.

The top 10 results for East Sussex:

  1. House sparrow (down 2.4% on last year)
  2. Blue tit (up 4.6%)
  3. Starling (up 3.8%)
  4. Wood pigeon (up 2.3%)
  5. Blackbird (up 1.7%)
  6. Magpie (up 10.7%)
  7. Robin (up 4%)
  8. Great tit (down 2.2%)
  9. Jackdaw (up 10.7%)
  10. Feral pigeon (up 16.7%)