More good news than bad for birds

DAWN choruses may be that bit louder in future as Britain's bird populations appear to have more ups than downs.The results of the Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) are just in and more species appear to be winning than losing.

DAWN choruses may be that bit louder in future as Britain's bird populations appear to have more ups than downs.

The results of the Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) are just in and more species appear to be winning than losing.

Of the 100 species monitored at more than 200 sites around the UK, 44 species had increased in abundance significantly.

Eleven of these species increased by 50pc. These were the greylag goose, Canada goose, tufted duck, buzzard, coot, grey wagtail, stonechat, goldcrest, raven, great spotted woodpecker and tree sparrow.


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But 26 species were on the decline.

Most worryingly the report revealed that wood warblers have decreased by 68 per cent since 1994 when the BBS surveys begun. And willow tits are 55pc down in numbers.

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The spotted flycatchers, grey partridge and corn bunting have all declined in numbers by a more than a third.

But there was some good news for other birds on the threatened species list.

The tree sparrow increased by 52pc, the song thrush by 18pc, and the reed bunting by 13pc.

One woodland species making a comeback was the great spotted woodpecker. Its numbers have increased by 85pc since 1994. The bird may be benefiting from the maturation of new forests and more food being put out in gardens.

The numbers of starlings have fallen by 28pc in the UK over the last nine years.

The population is now less than two thirds the size it was when the decline started in the more than thirty years ago.

In Scotland starling numbers have changed very little over the survey period, and in Northern Island they have increased by 76pc.

The growth or decline of their numbers is thought to be due to loss of their preferred habitat and other adverse effects on farmland.

The wren was the most common bird spotted, but the blackbird, the chaffinch and the wood pigeon were not far behind.

The survey was carried out by volunteer birdwatchers in three two-hour early morning surveys of their chosen two-km route during the breeding season.

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