UK birds hit

By climate change

By Kirtiman Awasthi
Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

Under the weather: bird number climate change is affecting the population and distribution of birds in the uk, according to the State of uk 's Birds 2004 released in August. While the numbers of some of the most endangered birds, such as the bittern, capercaillie, nightjar and corncrake, show an encouraging trend, some of the more secure species continue to decline alarmingly.

uk populations of wintering ducks, geese, swans and wading birds have declined to their lowest level in the last 10 years. Seven of the nine common species of wading birds have shifted from 'warm west' to the 'colder east' in response to milder winters, the report says. "Re-distribution of these birds in response to change in winter climate may be masking our ability to determine whether declines in the uk are representative of the whole population," said Richard Hearn at Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust. The year 2004, the report reveals, was the worst breeding season for seabirds mainly because of a lack of sand eels -- believed to be a consequence of climate change.

There has been a six per cent rise in the combined populations of 111 bird species since 1970. But for every 10 pairs of birds living in the farmlands in 1970, less than six remain today, the report says. Farmland birds showing a rapid decline include the corn bunting, whereas several general species, such as the woodpigeon, are increasing. This trend has been attributed to milder winter and wet summer.

The report observed a general trend for birds to nest earlier and for migrating species to arrive earlier than they used to. It is thought these responses are linked to climate change. "Migratory birds do not understand international boundaries. A concerted global action on climate change is required to secure their future," said Mark Avery, director of conservation, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, uk. Milder winters and warmer summers could result in new bird species being found in the uk. The report tips the black kite and cattle egret as potential colonists.

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