Figures published at the weekend by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) show bird populations in Yorkshire and Humber have risen above the national trend. Species doing particularly well include grey heron and stock dove.
Farmland bird populations in the region have shown no change between 1994 and 2003, whereas on a national scale they have shown a slight decline, with the reed bunting and grey partridge faring the worst.
Woodland birds in the region have increased by nine per cent in the period between 1994 and 2003, again bucking the national trend which has seen a decrease. Chiffchaff populations are doing particularly well.
The figures make up one of the Government's key indicators on quality of life. Bird populations are considered to be a good indicator of the broad state of wildlife and countryside because they occupy a wide range of habitats, they tend to be near or at the top of the food chain and considerable long-term data on bird populations has been collected.
The general indication from the figures was that there was no significant change to species populations overall, but that populations in more northern regions continue to prosper, whilst those in southern regions are still in decline.