How wild are we? Window Wildlife Spotter results

Girl using binoculars © David Tipling - 2020VISION

In Spring 2020, we launched our citizen science program - “How Wild Are We?” You told us what wildlife you could see from your windows, who visited your balcony and what creatures were living in your garden. This is the second of three blogs sharing the results.

We asked our followers from across our two counties to fill out five different surveys to assess the biodiversity in their local spaces. Residents spotted birds and flying insects from their windows with the Window Wildlife Spotter; they dug around in nooks and crannies outside to find some Invertebrate Insights; they looked at a square in their garden and drew all the plants they could find in the Plant Plotter survey; for our nightlife survey, some even went out with a torch to discover our nocturnal wildlife; and for those who had ponds, we asked them to take a closer look and report back on the pondlife they saw.

Here are the results from the Window Wildlife Spotter.

Window Wildlife Spotter Sheet

Last place: squirrel and white tailed bumblebee

In joint last place is the squirrel (red and grey) and white tailed bumblebee. Grey squirrels are the most common mammal in the UK and can be spotted almost every time you walk through a wood or local park.

The white tailed bumblebee is one of the UK’s most common bees. Their large size and white behinds make them easily recognisable.

9th Place: Great tit

Great Tit © A. Powling

Great Tit © A. Powling

The great tit is the largest of the UK's tits and is a common sight in woodland, parks and our gardens. They are just as comfortable sleeping in nest boxes as they are nesting in holes in trees. This year, the great tit took seventh place in RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch.

8th place: Garden spider

Common Garden Spider © Robert Painton

Common Garden Spider © Robert Painton 

At number 7, we have the garden spider. The European garden spider is the most common and widespread orb weaving spider in the UK. The white cross on their backs make them very easy to identify. 

Joint 7th place: magpie and house sparrow

The magpie and the housesparrow join us in seventh position. This year, the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch listed the house sparrow as the number one most common bird spotted in people’s gardens and placed the magpie in tenth position! Local distributions of birds and timings of the year may have affected sightings.

5th place: Housefly

housefly on flower

90% of all flies living near human habitations are houseflies. They feed on all things that humans produce from our sweat to the rubbish we leave in our bins.

4th place: robin

Robin in the Snow, by Tim Withall

© Tim Withall

Robins, perhaps the UK’s most familiar bird, comes in as our fourth most popular sighting though it’s the eighth most common on RSPB’s big birdwatch. Its bright red breast makes it stand out and it’s fiercely territorial.

3rd place: Woodpigeon

Woodpigeon on fence railing

© Gillian Day

The woodpigeon is the UK’s largest, commonest, and most approachable pigeon. Its cooing call is a familiar sound wherever you go.

2nd place: Blue tit

Blue tit in blossoms

© Alan Price

The blue tit is a colourful little bird with a blue cap, white cheeks, black eye-stripes, a greeny-blue back, yellow belly, and blue wings and tail. This year, it was the second most common bird on our Window Wildlife Spotter.

1st place: Blackbird

Coming in at number one, as our most common wildlife sighting in the Window Wildlife Spotter, is the blackbird. Male blackbirds are entirely black, with a yellow bill and yellow ring around the eye while their female counterparts s are dark brown, with streaking on the chest and throat. They’re often seen with their heads cocked to the side towards the ground listening out for earthworms.

Blackbird © Neil Aldridge

Blackbird © Neil Aldridge

For further reading

Do check out How Wild Are We? on our website here. We are excited to develop our citizen science program and watch how Hampshire and the Isle of Wight become wilder in the years to come.

Other organisations have citizen science initiatives, if you want to do more! Check out the RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch and Butterfly Conservation's Big Butterfly Count.