The latest results from the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch have revealed a golden year for the goldfinch along with a number of other small birds after a surge in sightings in gardens across the country.

Now in its 39th year, the birdwatch is a chance for people of all ages to count the number of bird that visit their garden helping the RSPB build up a picture of how they are doing.

This year, more than 420,000 people across the country took part counting an impressive 6.7 million birds.

Just over 7,500 took part in Dorset.

The event, held over the last weekend in January, revealed an increase in sightings of smaller birds, such as goldfinch, long-tailed tit and coal tit that can usually be seen visiting gardens and outside spaces in mixed flocks.

Recorded sightings of the brightly coloured, sociable finch rose by 11 per cent on 2017 figures and its bright red face was seen in more than two-thirds of gardens.

Other small birds that are thought to have benefited from the mild January weather include long-tailed tit, coal tit, and blue tit.

Tony Whitehead, spokesperson for the RSPB in the South West said: “We’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone in Dorset who took part in our 2018 Big Garden Birdwatch.

By donating an hour for nature, you have provided invaluable data about the health of the feathered friends that make living in Dorset so wonderful.

“And your top five results are in: The woodpigeon cooed into fifth place, although this year it was recorded in fewer Dorset gardens and in lower numbers on average.

In fourth place, the colourful blue tit had a great year in Dorset, celebrating higher numbers on average and it was seen in more gardens too.

In third place, the melodic blackbird experienced a double dip, recorded in fewer gardens and in fewer numbers on average across the county – echoing the national trend.

Just missing out on the star prize the cheeky starling nabbed second place, reported in fewer gardens, but enjoying an increase in average numbers spotted.

The UK’s overall winner, the house sparrow, stole the show in Dorset this year.

Although it was sighted in fewer gardens compared to 2017, the average number recorded increased.

Finally, Dorset’s goldfinches may not have made the top five, but they achieved a very respectable seventh place with an increase in both average numbers and the number of gardens they visited across the survey weekend.

“Big Garden Birdwatch just goes to show that all of the incredible effort people in Dorset are doing to give nature a home in their own gardens, is really essential to the survival of our garden birds.

"Hopefully these results will encourage even more people to do their bit for Dorset’s wildlife.”

For a full round up of all the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch results and to see which birds were visiting gardens where you live, visit