BLACKBIRDS have been revealed as the most spotted playground bird in Cumbria — while the black-headed gull remains top in Lancashire.

According to the RSPB’s Big Schools’ Birdwatch — a UK-wide survey — the average number of blackbirds spotted in Cumbria per school rose from six last year to 15.

Lancashire bucked the national trend with an average of only four recorded.

Emma Reed, the RSPB’s Education Officer for Northern England, said: “It’s encouraging that so many children and teachers continue to take part in the Big Schools’ Birdwatch, especially when this winter’s mild weather meant birds didn’t turn up in the numbers they usually do.

“Seeing nature first-hand is the single best way to enthuse young people about it, and by watching birds from their classroom window they can learn so much about the amazing diversity of wildlife living on their doorstep.”

In Cumbria, the black-headed gull moved from 13th to fifth place in the most seen list, while it came out in first place in Lancashire.

A significant change for the common gull was recorded in Cumbria, as it fell from first place to 19th, with an average of less than one seen per school.

And, in Lancashire, the blackbird held on to third position.

Carrion crows came in at second place across both counties, while starlings were third in Cumbria and fifth in Lancashire.

Overall, average numbers of birds spotted appear to be down this year but experts at the charity believe this was more likely to be because of the mild weather, which means wildlife does not need to go into urban areas to find food.

Ms Reed added: “Finding out which birds they share their playground with always gets children excited, and through that excitement comes learning.

“Most importantly, it encourages them to help us give nature a home.”

For more information visit rspb.