The collapsing populations of birds across Europe - what can we do?


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The collapsing populations of birds across Europe - what can we do?

  • I attended (alas, only by Live Stream) the conference, “Setting a new post-2020 biodiversity agenda – the communications challenge”, which took place on the 12th (yesterday, for those of you in the UK) at the Cambridge Conservation Initiative. It was presented by some exceptionally talented people, like the head of BirdLife and, as well as Sir David Attenborough finishing off the programme. The critical thing, everyone agreed, was to communicate the catastrophic biodiversity crisis in words that everybody can understand - so the average man on the street knows about it and cares enough to do something. I admit to being almost paralyzed with despair at the awful effects of intensive agriculture - collapsing bird populations in France, the UK and elsewhere. What can we as individuals do? Who do we write to? I live in Pennsylvania (an ex-pat) and promote wildlife gardening and creation care every chance I can. But apart from individual efforts in our own back yard, how do we galvanize other people and politicians to care?
  • Hi Johnny welcome to the community.

    I think when it comes to efforts to help birds/wildlife abroad we can only add our voices to campaigns and join organisations like the RSPB and Wildlife trusts here in the UK and your equivalent in the USA.

  • Indeed. I'm a Life Member of several UK Wildlife Trusts, and a  "Lifer"for the RSPB and Woodland Trust too. And I give regularly to analogous charities here. I was focusing on what campaigning we can do as British (and European) citizens.

  • Hi Johnny

    I didn't see the conference to which you refer but I did see a newspaper report about the decline in bird populations in France. I have to say I was quite surprised and shocked because I always considered that birds were doing quite well in rural France compared with our more crowded island of the UK.

    I think there's little doubt that intensive agriculture is responsible for the decline in our farmland birds in particular with the use of pesticides and herbicides. To their credit some farmers in consultation with the RSPB are putting aside field margins and sowing wild flowers for insects and subsequent seeds for birds in the winter. Much more needs to be done though.

    I have visited relatively undeveloped countries like Bulgaria, northern Greece and Romania where agriculture is of low intensity and it was most notable to me how prolific the bird life was compared with the UK.

    I'm not sure what the individual can do other than support local conservation organisations and lobby our our legislators.

    We have a member (Noisette) who lives in rural France so it would be interesting to hear her views on the situation there. I think their bird protection organisation (LPO) is nothing like as influential as the RSPB is in the UK.