Top ten facts about birds

To celebrate the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch, which takes place 29-31st January 2021, here are some amazing facts about birds. There’s also a list of some birds which you are most likely to see, depending on where in the UK you live.


Firstly, the UK’s only naturalised parrot, the exotic green, ring-necked parakeet can be seen flying wild in London’s parks.

The RSPB estimates there are now 8,600 breeding pairs in the UK and no-one is quite sure how they got here!




While exotic birds are still kept as pets in the UK, UK law prevents wild British birds from being caught and sold or kept as pets.

This is why you won’t see them in any other country.


There are 621 species of birds found in the UK as of January 2020 and it is though there are over 10,000 species of bird worldwide.

Columbia is the country that has more species of bird than any other country in the planet.




Blackbirds can inherit a condition called ‘partial albinism’ from their parents, which results in some of their feathers being white instead of black.

The RSPB receive regular calls from confused members of the public about these birds that look like a blackbird in every way but one…!


Due to global warming, migratory birds are arriving and breeding in the UK earlier than they used to.

Swallows now arrive in the UK 15 days earlier and breed 11 days earlier than they did in the 1960s.




Birds that prefer warmer climes, like the garganey, quail and little egret, are benefiting from climate change and their populations increasing.

Others, who do better in cooler conditions, like the dotterel, whimbrel, and common scoter, are in decline.


Barn owls can raise up to 11 eggs in a single brood. For British barn owns their average live expectancy above 5 weeks is 18 months old – however, those that live over 1 year tend to live on until they are 4 years old.

The greatest known age for a barn owl in the whole of Europe is 21 years.




There are three types of woodpecker in the UK – green, the greater spotted and lesser spotted. In spring and summer, the RSPB frequently receives calls from people who are convinced they have a middle-spotted woodpecker in their garden.

However, this is because young greater spotted woodpeckers look like middle spotted woodpeckers (native to France) until they’ve matured.


The yellow wagtail is a summer visitor to the UK, flying over 7,000 miles to Africa in the winter.

Large declines in breeding numbers across Britain place them on the red list for conservation concerns.




The last fact about birds is that a collective noun for a group of goldfinches is a ‘charm’, which derives from the Middle English ‘charme’ and the Latin Carmen, which means magic song or spell.

This refers to the twittering and conversational sound of the goldfinch which sounds like many voices.

Common birds by region

North East: House Sparrow

North West: Dunnock

Yorkshire: Starling

East Midlands: Collared dove

West Midlands: Bullfinch

East of England: Brambling

London: Woodpigeon

South East: Wren

South West: Blue tit


So, make sure you’ve got a food, shelter, and water in your garden in the form of plants, bird bath and bird feeders and keep an eye out for our flying friends. Keep note of what you see too – it’s a great thing for the kids to get involved with. Let me know what you spot over on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

For more help on helping birds in your garden, read this:

Or check out my Pinterest board for more ideas: