THE results of the RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch have revealed a surge in sightings of small birds in gardens across Dorset.

This year, more than 420,000 people across the country took part counting 6.7 million birds. Just over 7,500 took part in Dorset.

Now in its 39th year, the event was held over the last weekend in January and showed an increase in sightings of smaller birds, such as the goldfinch, long-tailed tit and coal tit.

Recorded sightings of the brightly coloured, sociable finch rose by 11 per cent on 2017 figures and its bright red face was seen in more than two-thirds of gardens. Other small birds thought to have benefited from the mild January weather include the long-tailed tit, coal tit, and blue tit.

Tony Whitehead, from RSPB in the South West, said: “We’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone in Dorset who took part in our 2018 Big Garden Birdwatch. By donating an hour for nature, you have provided invaluable data about the health of the feathered friends that make living in Dorset so wonderful."

The most spotted bird in Dorset was the house sparrow, although it was sighted in fewer gardens than in 2017.

The wood pigeon, blue tit, blackbird, and starling were the four other most commonly seen birds this year.

"Dorset’s goldfinches may not have made the top five, but they achieved a very respectable seventh place with an increase in both average numbers and the number of gardens they visited across the survey weekend," Tony said.

He added: “Big Garden Birdwatch just goes to show that all of the incredible efforts people in Dorset are making to give nature a home in their own gardens are really essential to the survival of our garden birds. Hopefully these results will encourage even more people to do their bit for Dorset’s wildlife.”

To see which birds were visiting gardens where you live, visit