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Country News - 2004

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Good news for Northern bird life

Thursday 04 March 2004

DECADES of decline for Britain’s wild birds may at last have been arrested – and there has been an upturn for many species in the North of England.

These are the findings of a large-scale research programme carried out by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds for Defra, whose officials now recognise that wild bird populations are a key indicator of the health of the environment.

The survey covered woodland and open farmland birds and it showed a marked improvement in a huge area stretching from the Midlands via Yorkshire and Humberside up to the Scottish border.

Here, bird numbers have stabilised or increased since 1994 after many years of decline in the 1970s and 1980s – although the decline has continued in the South East, presumably as a result of large scale development of rural areas for housing and roads.

The statistics for the study were provided by hundreds of volunteer bird watchers and the BTO is eager to recruit more volunteers willing to count the number of bird species they see on a regular journey undertaken twice a week – on the way to work or the shops, perhaps.

Such up-to-date recordings will be fed into the BTO's data bank and hopefully help build the most up-to-date bird census ever undertaken. For more information please contact Mike Raven, the BBS National Organiser (bbs@bto.org) or phone 01842 750050


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