What is your favourite wild bird?

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) charity recently asked its email newsletter readers to vote for their favourite birds – and the results are in!

The RSPB stresses the results are neither representative nor scientific but, with votes from over 3,700 people, they provide a realistic insight into our favourite birds.

Top of the flocks is the Robin – one of our most familiar garden birds, dubbed the gardener’s friend and a poster bird for Christmas.

Arguably the Robin is so popular both because its red breast is instantly recognisable and it tends to live close to us. Gardeners only have to lift a spade and a Robin appears! Yet what we assume is friendliness is opportunism: gardening often involves digging, which disturbs worms and other grubs which are rich pickings for a hungry Robin.

The robin became the bird of Christmas in the Victorian era, when postmen were nicknamed “robins” due to their red waistcoats. Robins then began to appear on Christmas cards to represent the postmen who delivered them.

The Robin has a delightful tuneful song and is one of the very few birds singing in winter, so its choice as the bird of Christmas is even more appropriate.

In second place in the RSPB’s snap survey was the Wren, another super-singer: its ability to belt out a song at a volume is seemingly at odds with its tiny body. Wrens are widespread throughout the UK and described by the British Trust for Ornithology as the most numerous wild breeding bird in the UK.

Hot on the tail feathers of the top two is the Kingfisher. This is undoubtedly one of the UK’s most colourful birds, with azure blue wings, orange belly and dark dagger-like bill. Despite this striking plumage, Kingfishers can be hard to spot, so every sighting is a thrill!

Next up at number four is the Long-tailed Tit, a sociable bird typically seen in family groups, flitting from branch to branch and calling to each other as they go. They have noticeably long tails in contrast to their fluffy round bodies, which is why the RSPB describes their appearance as little fluffy lollypops!

At number five is the Goldfinch, another bird regularly seen in flocks. This distinctive finch has a red face and bright yellow wing bars that seem to flash in flight.

Whereas the top five are often seen in land-locked Surrey, the sixth bird most voted-for is the Puffin. It nests on cliffs and islands at scattered locations around the coast of Scotland, northern England, South West England and Wales. With its colourful bill and doleful eyes, it’s no wonder this clown of the sea has made it into the top ten. But despite the Puffin being one of our most-loved birds, it is also one of the most threatened.

The birds making up the remainder of RSPB readers’ top ten are the Blackbird in seventh, Nuthatch at eighth, Red Kite in ninth and Barn Owl at tenth.

Interestingly five of the top ten favourite birds are birds commonly seen in Surrey’s gardens: Robins, Wrens, Long-tailed Tits, Goldfinches and Blackbirds. Since the reintroduction of the Red Kite into lowland Britain it’s perhaps no surprise that this impressive bird – now commonly seen soaring across our own skies throughout the year – makes the list.

* What are your favourite UK wild birds and are they in the top ten of the RSPB’s snap survey? Do you have a particular favourite? Let Royer know by emailing [email protected]