A RECORD number of bird lovers in West Yorkshire have participated in the world's biggest bird survey.
The Big Garden Birdwatch has reported a 20% increase in participants across the country who counted birds this year.
In West Yorkshire, 11,310 people took part in the survey.
Nationally more than 470,000 people scrutinised their gardens and local parks during the RSPB's survey in January.
They spotted a staggering 8.1m birds from 80 different species, ranging from the common blackbird to the more unusual blackcap. The house sparrow was the bird most spotted by people.
Kirsten Whittaker, regional Big Garden Birdwatch Co-ordinator, said: "It's fantastic that there is so much interest in the wildlife around us, with more people than ever enjoying the birds in their garden. Even in the most built-up areas where you might not expect people to watch birds, the Big Garden Birdwatch is extremely well supported."
Despite a record number of participants, the RSPB has recorded a sharp decline in the number of some birds seen since the survey began in 1979.
The house sparrow may have retained the top spot this year as the most common garden bird, but the number has rapidly declined.
This year there were an average of just 4.4 sparrows seen per garden, compared to 10 in 1979.
However, the greenfinch and wren have seen their numbers increase, and bird watchers recorded more blackbird and song thrush appearances.
Kirsten added: "Some more unusual species were also commoner in our gardens this year. "For example, the number of siskins was up by 483% per cent from last year, and bramblings were up by 371%."
* African Greys are described as `the perfect mix of brains and beauty'. So watch out Jordan.
* Shy and wary birds, they were originally killed for food and their attractive red tail feathers
* African Greys nest in tree trunks in equatorial rainforest, one pair per tree, with 3-4 eggs
* It was initially thought that parrots didn't need water. Many years - and many dead parrots - later this view was revised
* They are thought to have intelligence equal to that of a naughty two-year-old human. One bird interpreted the meaning of the words `long' and `yellow' and put them together to ask for more corn on the cob.
* One of the bird world's best speakers, they will also quickly imitate phones, microwave ovens, answering machines and chain saws.