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Dwindling numbers of common bird species revealed in report

PUBLISHED: 10:06 11 January 2015 | UPDATED: 10:07 11 January 2015

Starling

Starling

Archant

House Sparrows, Starlings and Spotted Flycatchers are among three species of garden birds that are experiencing severe declines, a new report has revealed.

House SparrowHouse Sparrow

The British Trust for Ornithology’s (BTO) latest BirdTrends report shows that the three species are among a number whose prominence is dwindling, especially in urban and suburban areas.

The report summarises the population trends for 120 breeding species across Britain & Ireland using data collected by volunteer surveyors.

For the first time, this year’s report has provided habitat-specific trends for many species.

The findings are that 28 species are showing a fall in numbers greater than 50pc over the last 35 to 45 years.

Dr Stephen Baillie, senior research fellow and lead author of the report, said the data showed national decreases are continuing.

“The results of BTO surveys show that many familiar garden birds are experiencing problems. House Sparrow numbers have dropped by almost 70pc since the 1960s and the data suggest that sparrows occupying urban and suburban habitats are faring worst,” he said.

The range of birds in decline also appears to be increasing, according to co-author John Marchant.

While many will be familiar with the disappearance of House Sparrow, Starling and Spotted Flycatcher, it may surprise people to know that House Martin, Mistle Thrush and Greenfinch are heading in the same direction.

The figures come weeks before the launch of the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch on January 24 and 25.

What do you think of the decline? Email andrew.fitchett@archant.co.uk

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