THE starling has held its own as West Yorkshire's champion garden bird, taking top spot in the RSPB's record-breaking 2004 Big Garden Birdwatch.
An average of 4.4 starlings per garden were recorded this year, compared with 4.5 last year.
Runners-up again were house sparrows (4.3), with blue tits (3.0) remaining in third place.
This year's Big Garden Birdwatch saw a staggering 409,000 people nationally taking part.
It easily beat last year's figure of 314,000.
In West Yorkshire, 9,774 people surveyed parks, school grounds and gardens - a huge rise on last year's 6,317.
Kirsten Whittaker, RSPB garden bird adviser, said: "We are delighted to see such a huge rise in the number of people in the county taking part in this year's event.
"This demonstrates the interest and concern the people of West Yorkshire have for the birds around them.
"It is essential that surveys like this continue to gather important scientific information if we are to reverse the decline of our best-loved garden birds, such as the starling and house sparrow."
Big Garden Birdwatch, which takes place in January, asks participants to spend one hour counting the birds in their garden, school grounds or local park and to record the highest number of each species.
List compiled from average number of single sightings in one hour in February
1 Starling 4.4
2 House sparrow 4.3
3 Blue Tit 3.0
4 Blackbird 2.7
5 Collared Dove 1.6
6 Greenfinch 1.5
7= Magpie and Great Tit 1.4
9= Chaffinch and Robin 1.2