Big Garden Birdwatch Joy For Jays & Greenfinches

Andy Hay ( © Robin bird on a branch, RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch

RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch is like the Oscars for birdwatchers and bird experts alike. Well, the results are in for 2022!

Every year the RSPB carry out the Big Garden Birdwatch survey, the world’s largest wildlife survey, to give their scientists an insight into garden bird populations.

This was the 43rd year and almost 700 thousand people across the UK took part, counting more than 11 million birds. A pleasant activity for the family, but also a crucial resource for scientists.

This year, House Sparrows once again took the top spot. Interestingly though, the Jay has made a surprise rise through the ranks, nine places up from last year to number 23. Scientists aren’t 100% sure why, but reckon having more acorns to snack on has given them a boost. Whatever the reason, we’re happy to see more of these colourful crows!

Jay bird on a branch, RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch


Also defying the odds was the Greenfinch, whose populations had crashed since 1993 after a severe disease outbreak. A small increase in their numbers is giving RSPB scientists and birdwatchers hope for the start of a population recovery. Garden owners can help slow the spread of the disease by temporarily stopping supplying food if ill birds are seen (as they pass it on through feeding each other), and regularly cleaning bird feeders.

Greenfinch bird on a branch, RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch


The Big Garden Birdwatch can be the first indicator to the RSPB of upwards or downwards trends in the bird world. It’s an occasion that all the family can get involved in, whether out and about or from the window!

Something else for the family is the Dawn Chorus Day taking place on Sunday May 1, where you can open your doors and windows to the outside world and listen to nature’s greatest musicians.

Top 10 garden birds 2022

Here’s the full top 10 list of garden birds from the Big Garden Birdwatch survey. Does your favourite make the list?

  1. House Sparrow
  2. Blue Tit
  3. Starling
  4. Woodpigeon
  5. Blackbird
  6. Robin
  7. Goldfinch
  8. Great Tit
  9. Magpie
  10. Chaffinch


Jacqueline Munro

Jacqueline is the Digital Content Editor at "The People's Friend", looking after our website, social media channels and podcast.