HUNDREDS of people in Huddersfield joined a record-breaking effort to watch birds in their gardens.
More than 600,000 people nationally – and 16,000 in West Yorkshire – took part in this year’s RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch.
And their counts revealed that some of the smaller birds hit by the long harsh winter a year ago had bounced back.
Goldcrests, long-tailed tits and coal tits significantly increased in the latest survey of birds seen in people’s gardens, which took place at the end of January.
Sightings of goldcrests, the UK’s smallest birds, quadrupled, while sightings of long-tailed tits were up by 35% and coal tits by 28%.
According to the RSPB, small birds can be particularly badly hit by harsh winters.
But a good breeding season can help turn around their fortunes and the results from the poll suggest this may have been the case in 2010.
The survey also recorded more than 7,000 waxwings in almost 1,000 gardens.
This happened as the striking birds came to the UK from Scandinavia in an influx known as a “waxwing winter” which occurs every few years.
Carolyn Jarvis, the RSPB’s people engagement manager for Northern England, based at Denby Dale, said: “It’s fantastic that so many people stepped up for nature by taking part.
“We were really interested to see how the small birds fared after such a disastrous winter last year.
“It appears that many may have had a decent breeding season and have been able to bounce back a little.
“But we all know that hard winters can return and feeding our garden birds really helped see them through the cold spell this year.
“So it’s really important we carry on putting out food to see them through future tough times.”
Over 10.2m birds were counted by the thousands of people that took part in the survey.
More than 300,000 gardens were watched across the UK – including almost 8,000 in West Yorkshire – and more than 70 species were recorded.
The survey saw house sparrows top the list of commonly seen birds for the eighth year running.
In the region an average of 3.89 were recorded per garden.