If you want to know how nature is faring, it’s worth having a look at The state of the UK’s birds 2016.
The stories of our birds, our nature, are laid bare. It’s not speculation, it’s all based on data collected painstakingly in the field, largely by an army of volunteers. Some stories are good news, but not all.
There’s a traffic-light system which makes it easy to see which bird species are thriving (Green), those that are under threat (Amber) and those that are in most danger (Red). More than a quarter of the UK’s bird species are now on the Red list.
On the up...
Rejoice in red kites, as their numbers soar, just like the birds themselves. There are more house sparrows than before, but not enough to be certain they’ll ever get back to the numbers of a few decades ago.
Bitterns and nightjars have moved from the Red to the Amber list, as their numbers have increased, while woodlarks and bearded tits are now Green-listed as their European populations are no longer declining.
And dropping down...
The UK supports up to 27% of the world’s curlews, and the species’ long-term trend shows a 64% decline from 1970 to 2014. That means we have a great responsibility to help this charismatic bird, which is now one of UK bird conservation’s top priorities.
Woodland birds are in particular trouble, with 16 species now Red-listed, including the nightingale and pied flycatcher. Did you know that wrynecks – beautifully camouflaged members of the woodpecker family – used to breed in most counties in the UK? Now they don’t breed in any. It’s a sad loss.
See how our birds are doing
Each species has a story of its own and you can see how each is faring. Are there more of them, or less? And are the numbers increasing or dropping dramatically, or is it a slow change?
The state of the UK’s birds also looks at groups of species. For instance, there’s a section about farmland birds and another about woodland species and those that live in wilder, upland areas. It doesn’t leave out our seabirds, or our summer and winter visitors, so you’ll be able to find out what’s happening with migrating birds such as swallows, blackcaps, winter thrushes and geese. Many of these face hazards including hunters’ guns, deserts, and weather systems, and these issues are briefly discussed.
Everything in nature is interlinked. If one species is doing well, it usually means that there’s a network of other species which is thriving.
Want to know more?
Get the full story by downloading a copy of this year’s report from The state of the UK’s birds webpage.