STARLINGS have held onto their title as the most common birds in Hounslow's skies despite the freezing winter killing off many smaller birds across the country.
More than 700 people from across London took part in the RSPB's annual Big Garden Birdwatch, spending an hour each jotting down winged visitors to their gardens.
Participants spotted an average of 3.2 starlings per garden, pushing the wood pigeon (2.85), which dominated skies elsewhere, into second place.
House sparrows (2.36) came third in the table, ahead of blue tits (2.24) and feral pigeons (1.92).
House sparrows were once so common in the capital that the sheer weight of the birds perched on the arms of Big Ben's clockface once stopped it working. But their numbers have fallen recently, with the cold wather making it partucularly hard for them to find food.
Wood pigeons were the most commonly spotted birds across London in the survey, ahead of starlings and house sparrows.
"Hounslow’s more suburban gardens have plenty of hedges and shrubs to support traditional garden birds like house sparrows, tits and blackbirds but lawns are still big enough to provide starlings with sources of food," said a spokesman for the charity. Beautiful magpies feature in the lower half of the top 10. Often demonised because they will eat the offspring of other birds, the species' numbers are returning to traditional figures following years of persecution."
Nearly 530,000 people took part in this year's survey, counting over 8.5 million birds. Across the UK, 73 species were recorded in 280,000 gardens during the weekend of January 30/31.
Readers have been urged to do their bit for our feathered friends by considering how to retain nests in and on houses when carrying out renovations. Free advice is available at www.rspb.org.uk/hfw .