New survey by the RSPB shows continuing decline of certain garden birds
A recent survey by the RSPB shows that endangered garden birds are continuing to decline in the UK however due to the long and harsh winter new species our starting to enter our backyards due to the harsh conditions of the countryside.
New figures released by the RSPB show that starlings, house sparrows and other threatened garden birds have faced a decline in numbers over the past year. The RSPB hold an annual survey called the Big Garden Birdwatch (BGBW) where half a million people across the UK volunteer and count birds in their garden during a particular weekend in January. As well as the decline of certain species an increase has been noted in birds such as fieldfares and jays arguably due to the harsh conditions of the winter. These birds who usually would stay in the countryside had resorted to gardens in search of food, water and shelter it is believed.
Martin Harper, from the RSPB , said: "We know from the many people who take part in Big Garden Birdwatch every year that garden birds are incredibly precious to us and connect us to nature every day … but several of our familiar and best-loved species have been declining at alarming rates over the 34 years that the RSPB has been running the birdwatch and this year's results show a continuing decline."
The causes for decline are debateable. Since the BGBW started many observations have been noted and many have tried to explain what has happened. For example the loss of tradition farming procedures to more intensive methods has made it harder for birds to find food in the soil. Furthermore in greater London and other urban areas house sparrows particularly have been in decline. Reasons vary from air pollution to an increase in feline attacks.
Although there is no link between cold weather and a decline in the number of birds, the cold spring that the UK has been experiencing could have an effect on the breeding season. Typically birds at this time would be preparing for the season and building and restoring their nests however they have to wait due to the immediate concern to find food and shelter.
BGBW began in 1979 and since then has grown and grown. In 2013, 590,000 people took part in the survey where for one hour in the last weekend of January they are asked to monitor the number and type of birds in their gardens. It is estimated that the UKs gardens cover 4% of the land surface and the RSPB advise that people should make their gardens as suitable as possible for birds by providing food and water so that birds can escape the harsh conditions of the countryside in the winter where food is particularly scarce.