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Birds flock north, ornithology study reveals

Other posts by  |  Steve Smith on Google+ |  October 1, 2011 | 0 Comments
Arctic Terns in tlight

Arctic Terns in Northumberland © Gail Johnson – Fotolia.com

A new study by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) shows an increase in bird populations in the North East of England, including Northumberland.

The report looked at nine English regions and reveals that in the North of England some species are either increasing, or experiencing smaller falls in populaiton. In the south the bird population is declining significantly.

The results, which looked at birds found on farmland, woodland and a series of other habitats such as wetlands, towns and moorlands, revealed increases in the North East, while all groups were doing worst in the South East.

Martin Harper, conservation director at the RSPB, said:”There could be many reasons to explain this, including different forms of land use in parts of northern England.”

Between 1994 and 2009 farmland bird numbers fell by 28% in the south-east England of England, with a drop of 23% in the south west.

But in the North East the bird population has increased by three %. In the  North West the reduction in numbers is three %.

A similar divide between the north and south of England is seen among woodland birds, the figures show, with the greatest declines experienced in the South East (19 per cent) and the South West (13 per cent).

Martin added: “Other factors like development, climate change, altitude and water scarcity all vary from south to north and could all be playing a part in these staggering regional differences.

“What is shocking is when you look beyond the graphs, you realise these figures are about the lives of birds and the figures chart the ability of birds to survive in our countryside; the place where we go for walks and grow our food. If some of these birds are struggling to survive, that may say a lot about the quality of our countryside and our own quality of life.”

He said that if the Government wants to restore wildlife, it must address issues such as helping farmers to do more for the wildlife on their land.

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