(Last Updated On: November 24, 2016)

Birds buck the trend and increase in numbers

It’s a disheartening & shocking fact that for a long while, much of our wildlife in the UK has been in decline. Over the years, the increase in demand for housing and need for development has led to the destruction of natural habitats, which can be held responsible for diminishing numbers of wild birds.

However, despite this, it is encouraging to hear reports of birds such as the glorious Great Spotted Woodpecker (GSW) and the beautiful blackcap defying the odds and bucking the trend, and it’s all down to the fact that more and more of us are making the decision to intervene and use bird feeders in and around our gardens.

Great Spotted Woodpecker

Since the 1970s, populations of the great spotted woodpecker have been on the increase. During the 1990’s there was a rapid rise in the number of these magnificent birds. In 2008 a study (Newson et Al:Use of distance sampling to improve estimates of national population sizes for common and widespread breeding birds in the UK) reported an estimated 140000 pairs of great spotted woodpeckers! (See Fig 1) This is mainly down to the increase in use of wild bird feeders.

Official stats – Click here

Great spotted woodpeckers are striking in appearance, with clearly patterned black and white plumage, and a shade of crimson red on its backside and crown. Famous for drumming displays and loud calls, you’ll find GSWs spending time clinging on to tree trunks and branches.

Where to Spot the Great Spotted Woodpecker: Common in England and Wales, in particular there has been a rise in the South of England. The GSW loves mature tall trees with broad leaves and coniferous surroundings.

What to feed great spotted woodpeckers: Wild bird peanuts, mealworm, seeds & Insects

Why not try and encourage these beautiful birds? We recommend Garden Bird & Wildlife’s Premium Quality Peanuts  

The blackcap, or ‘northern nightingale’

It’s a similar story with the blackcap, which is commonly known as the ‘northern nightingale’. A close relative of the Garden Warbler, the blackcap is a shining example of how feeding the birds no matter how much or little, can have a positive impact on their numbers. According to RSPB sources, in the mid-1950s there were hardly any blackcaps around, but over the past 60 years the number of blackcaps in the UK has rapidly increased. This has been attributed to two potential key factors. The first is climate change, which has influenced migration from areas such as the Mediterranean. The second is garden feeding. As more of us provide bird food supply in our gardens, there has been an inadvertent influence on the populations of blackcaps across the UK.

Where to Spot the Northern Nightingale:

These pretty birds can be spotted all across the UK you only have to search in a heavily wooded area or park to see them. Particularly in the winter months, they will venture in to gardens and stop off on feeders to stock up for the winter!

What to feed blackcaps: Mainly insects and mealworm when breeding, Suet & berries towards the end of summer and start of winter.

We recommend any of our Suet pellets for Blackcaps, not only will they provide them with the energy and fat they need for the winter months, but they’ll provide them with a tasty treat too!