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Country News - 2005

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Good news for most birds

Monday 4 July 2005

AFTER many years of decline, most species of British birds, including summer migrants, seem to have turned the corner and are prospering, according to figures published today.

Much loved birds like the cuckoo, whose numbers were slashed by almost a half in the past thirty years, bounced back last year with a growth in recorded numbers of 31%, according to figures collected by the Joint Nature Conservation Committee.

Britain's most numerous native bird is now the wood pigeon, which has overtaken the chaffinch, blackbird and wren since 2003, says the committee, which a joint venture by government scientists, the RSPB and the British Trust for Ornithology.

But all the news was not so good. The immigrant yellow wagtail, once a regular visitor to North Country rivers and streams, is in steep decline and the native sparrow hawk seems under threat.

The survey is unique in that much of the work is carried out by some two thousand amateur bird watchers who visit a given square kilometre of countryside over the year and record the number of species they see.

Numbers in these squares are:

  • Wood Pigeon - 1913
  • Chaffinch - 1898
  • Blackbird - 1896
  • Wren - 1879
  • Robin - 1813
  • Carrion Crow - 1795
  • Blue Tit - 1772
  • Great Tit - 1632
  • Dunnock - 1568
  • Starling - 1499
  • Song Thrush - 1488
  • Swallow - 1486
  • Magpie - 1470
  • Skylark - 1407
  • Greenfinch - 1387
  • Pheasant - 1318
  • House Sparrow - 1275
  • Jackdaw - 1256
  • Willow Warbler - 1205
  • Blackcap - 1123

*

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