THE British Trust for Ornithology is expressing growing concern about some of Britain's most popular birds which are having difficulty in raising young. They include the skylark, whose decline has been recorded for years, but also the common starling, which once flocked in thousands in rural areas close to big towns and cities.
The two species have been added to the "concern list" along with the mistle thrush and spotted fly-catcher as a result of statistics collected this spring by thousands of volunteer bird watchers who take part in the trust's nest record scheme (NRS).
Skylark numbers have been falling for many years to the slump in starling broods is puzzling. Like the humble house sparrow, which is also giving concern, it is often an urban-living bird and in the past has been considered by many as a nuisance.
Species on the NRS list are: Moorhen, Ringed Plover, Barn Owl, Skylark, Yellow Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, Dunnock, Wheatear, Mistle Thrush, Willow Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Starling, House Sparrow, Linnet, Yellowhammer, and Reed Bunting.