Bird’s Eye View (Jan 2021) – By John Birkett, RSPB Croydon Local Group

Sparrowhawk by Steve Moores

John Birkett, from RSPB Croydon Local Group writes:

When I wrote my article a year ago, I hoped that more of you would get the taste for watching the birds in your garden. Little did I know at that time just how important being in touch with nature would become for our health and sanity.

I know that following the spread of Covid-19 and lockdowns far more people sought succour from the natural world. If you were one of those, I hope that love of wildlife will stay with you for a long time. 

I am writing this as we entered another lockdown, but I am fortunate enough to be able to see and hear birds in my garden and those flying over. Silver birches in a neighbour’s garden has been attracting up to 20 goldfinches looking for food, while several blackbirds and redwings have been foraging on the lawn or eating berries on our shrubs. Blackcaps have become more common winter sights in gardens over recent decades and there is one round here, but I have also heard from several other people whose gardens have been graced by this species. One morning a sparrowhawk was patrolling overhead looking for a meal. Over the past few weeks I have been sent photos or news of sparrowhawks sitting around on garden fences. Perhaps they have been surveying feeders being frequented by blue, great and coal tits. Of course, the parakeets have to get in on the act and can turn up at any time of day and if I am outside in late afternoon I may see (and hear) squadrons of them flying over heading to roost at Mitcham Common. 

If you have time on your hands (!) why not check out your own little patch. If you do see anything interesting we would like to hear about it (contact And the weekend of 29-31 January 2021 sees the next RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch (BGBW). To participate all you need are a pen, some scrap paper and an hour to spend watching the birds in your garden. You can read more on the RSPB’s website (

What will be the most numerous bird in your garden? 

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