Monday, 5 April 2010

A Few Facts & Figures.

To address the status of the birds of the UK would need a book probably of 500 pages or more but I thought it might be a good idea to pick out at random one or two facts and figures about a couple of species.

Redshank courtesy of Mark Fellowes.

A current BTO report indicates 22 species of our birds which provide alerts to population declines of greater than 50% and the first of these I chose at random was a wader, the Redshank which has recently crossed the 50% decline threshold over a 25-year period, incidentally another bird is the House Martin, both of these birds are currently in the Amber List but may already be candidates for the Red List at the next revision. I personally had an experience last year regarding the House Martin when despite several visits to a site during the breeding season where in previous years had held up to sixteen nests yet in 2009 I found not a single one.

Marsh Tit courtesy of Mark Fellowes.

The Marsh Tit is another species included in the 'Declining Species List' and have done so in three major areas, wet habitats, farmland, and woodland, some opinions are that competition for nest holes with other tits may be important, other suggestions are that the Great-spotted Woodpeckers nest predation may also play a small part which adds to the end result, also claims in Southern Britain that an increase in 'deer' numbers is having an adverse effect on woodland understorey and since this is the habitat the Marsh Tit spends most of its life there may well be a link here too. Locally in the LDBWS recording area the Marsh Tit is a localised resident breeder mainly of  south-east Cumbria, Arnside & Silverdale, and the Lune Valley. If like me you haven't visited these local areas recently then you won't have encountered this bird....void of checking my records for accuracy I've not seen a Marsh Tit in a couple of years.

Of course there are many positive sides to our birds and their status, increased breeding successes and earlier breeding dates are just two areas perhaps I should concentrate on rather than being such a 'doom and gloom' merchant, but we do have to face reality....don't we!   


Warren Baker said...

Most of the bird declines are down to habitat destruction pete - thats the case on my patch anyway.

Pete Woodruff said...

Good to get an angle on whats happening in the south Warren and thanks for that.