As in previous years, house sparrows were counted most frequently at this year’s “Hour of Garden Birds” in Berlin. This was announced by the Berlin Nature Conservation Union (Nabu), which has been organizing this campaign for years. A total of 2391 people took part in the count from May 13th to 15th, in which animals in parks, gardens or other green spaces were counted within an hour. 49,766 birds were documented.
The number of swifts was surprisingly high in 2022. It was twice as high as a year earlier. On average, 2.91 of these animals were discovered per garden. Only in 2017 (3.16) and 2008 (2.96) were more of these birds, which spend most of their lives in the air, counted.
With the exception of the swifts, the Nabu did not give any specific figures for the birds. The swifts are number three in the ranking.
Starlings were counted even more frequently, putting them in second place this year. Blackbirds, which had ranked second annually up until 2017, were down to fourth.
“Blackbird populations have declined slowly but steadily in recent years,” said Rainer Altenkamp, Nabu state chairman. “The reason for the decline is probably the Usutu virus, to which blackbirds are particularly susceptible, but the drought of recent years probably also plays a role.”
Blackbirds are heavily dependent on earthworms for food, which are difficult to capture in dry conditions. “But the blackbird is still a frequently sighted bird that we don’t have to worry about,” said Altenkamp.
The state chairman explained the common swifts: “They only return from their winter quarters around May 8th, which is why their number can fluctuate greatly from year to year during our counting campaign.”
The birds also benefited from the much better weather compared to the previous year. House Martins and Barn Swallows, which hunt for insects in the air similar to swifts, have also been sighted much more frequently than in 2021.
The great tit is fifth, while the blue tit is three places behind. Blue tit populations have apparently stabilized after the death of many animals in 2020, caused by the bacterium Suttonella. Wood pigeon and hooded crow are in sixth and seventh place.