Here we go, embargoed till first thing Monday morning....
"The RSPB believes milder winter temperatures across Europe and bumper fruit crops in hedgerows and woodlands contributed to more birds feeding in the countryside and fewer visiting our gardens during the winter.
The RSPBÃ¢ÂÂs 2007 Big Garden Birdwatch results show smaller numbers of several songbirds in gardens, most notably those whose winter numbers are usually swelled by seasonal migrants from the continent.
Blackbirds, song thrushes and robins were at their lowest levels in gardens for five years. Above-average winter temperatures across Europe have resulted in reduced migration to the UK and consequently, numbers of song thrushes and blackbirds spotted in gardens have declined by nearly two thirds (65 per cent) and a quarter (25 per cent) respectively in a single year.
Ruth Davis, the RSPBÃ¢ÂÂs Head of Climate Change Policy, said: Ã¢ÂÂAs our climate changes the distribution of birds will change and they will adapt their behaviour. A snapshot in winter gives only part of the picture, but the varying birds visiting our gardens is one example of the impact climate change is having on the natural world.
Ã¢ÂÂAlthough the mild winter seems to have provided more food for songbirds in the countryside this year, as changes to our climate become more extreme, many birds will struggle to cope with the altered weather patterns. We can all help to minimise the impact of climate change by the action we take in our everyday lives.Ã¢Â?
Participants in Big Garden Birdwatch also noted a decrease in the number of resident birds. Greenfinches, in particular, have dropped significantly - by more than a quarter nationally since 2006 .
Jane Sellek, Regional Big Garden Birdwatch co-ordinator, added: Ã¢ÂÂSome birds were seen more often in gardens. For example house sparrows showed small increases in the average number per garden, whilst nationally this is the third year in a row the starling has increased and weÃ¢ÂÂre hopeful that this trend will continue.Ã¢Â?
Over the weekend of 27&28 January, more than 400,000 people counted more than 6.5 million birds across 236,000 gardens as part of the RSPBÃ¢ÂÂs annual Big Garden Birdwatch.
The house sparrow retained its top spot with an average of 4.42 per garden, however its numbers have decreased by more than half since 1979. The starling remained in second place and the blue tit completed the top three, with average numbers of 3.67 and 2.82 per garden respectively.
In conjunction with Big Garden Birdwatch, more than 1,200 schools involving 41,000 children and their teachers took part in Big SchoolsÃ¢ÂÂ Birdwatch. Children, with the blessing of their teacher, spent an hour gazing out of their classroom window to count the birds in their school grounds.
The full UK-wide Big Garden Birdwatch results will be available on the RSPB website from Monday, 26 March. http://www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch
Eyes to the skies everyone, eyes to the skies.....