UK bird population drops by 44 million since 1966By Hugh Fort
November 20, 2012
The UK'S bird population has dropped by 44 million since 1966 - a fall of one nesting pair a minute.
A report from a group of scientists called the State of the UK's Birds 2012 charts the ups and downs of the nations bird population of the past 46 years.
The report says there are now around 166 million nesting birds in the UK, compared to 210 million in 1966.
One of the birds hardest hit has been the house sparrow.
Since 2000 numbers have increased, but it is reckoned there are still 20 million fewer of the birds than in 1966.
Dr Mark Eaton, who worked on the report, said:“It is shocking to think that we’ve lost one in five of the individual birds that we had in the 1960s, especially when you think that the 44 million birds we have lost since 1966 is equivalent to the current adult human population of England and Wales.”
Some of the reasons cited for the drop are food and nesting ground shortages, as well as a lack of food in the summer and the winter.
Cold weather has been one of the main reasons, particularly affecting the wren.
But another bird, the chaffinch has increased at a rate of 150 a day.
Dr Andy Musgrove of the British Trust for Ornithology added: “We have learnt a great deal about bird numbers in the UK and, particularly, how they have changed through time.
"Amongst individual species, whilst there have been some winners, the number of losers is greater and the long-term picture is sobering. "There is still more to learn though, and we need the continuing support of ever greater numbers of volunteer birdwatchers, on whose efforts all of these numbers are based”.