NABU's "Hour of the Garden Birds" is one of the largest scientific hands-on campaigns in Germany. Anyone can count and report the birds they see. This year, a frequent leader is in first place, another bird species is sighted more than twice as often as in the previous year.
At the "Hour of the Garden Birds" more than twice as many nightingales were counted this year as in 2021. This was announced by the German Nature Conservation Union (NABU) after all reports of the campaign from May 13th to 15th had been evaluated. It was already the 18th edition of the campaign, and entries could still be submitted up until May 23rd.
The nightingale therefore has an increase in counts of 122 percent compared to the previous year. "Nightingales are among the few long-distance migrants that are increasing in numbers," explained NABU national director Leif Miller. According to the National Birds Conservation Report, their numbers increased by 26 percent between 2004 and 2016.
In the final result, the house sparrow came first in the reports. This is followed, as in the previous year, by blackbirds, great tits and the starling. According to NABU, an average of just over 32 birds were reported per garden or park, which roughly corresponds to the numbers of previous years.
"The hour of the garden birds this year has apparently fallen in the phase of the greatest courtship activity of the nightingale," said Miller, explaining the many counts of this species. According to NABU, the nightingales returned from their winter quarters in Africa about a week earlier this year than last year. The courtship and breeding activity started correspondingly earlier. Many males were still looking for a partner. "That's why so many of the varied and enduring singers could be heard and seen on the second weekend in May."
In the traditional "Garden Bird Hour" anyone can join in and count the birds they see or hear over the course of an hour. According to NABU, almost 67,000 people took part in the campaign this year. They counted nearly one and a half million birds in more than 44,000 gardens and parks.
(This article was first published on Wednesday, June 01, 2022.)