Bird news 2005 United Kingdom

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Roseate Terns

Roseate Terns

The number of roseate tern pairs in the UK increased from 58 pairs in 2001 and 69 in 2002 to 95-99 in 2003.
The RSPB reserve on Coquet Island has led this resurgence with an increase from 42 pairs in 2001 to 57 pairs in 2002 and 70 pairs in 2003. This is the only UK site which regularly supports more than 10 pairs.
All the roseate tern colonies in the United Kingdom are now within existing reserves, managed by a variety of groups including the RSPB, National Trust, Scottish Wildlife Trust and some local groups. All UK breeding sites for roseate tern have been designated as Special Protection Areas.
Artificial nesting sites have been provided on an experimental basis (for example 75 nest boxes have been provided on prepared terraces on Coquet Island) to provide more nesting habitat, so that all birds of breeding age are able to breed. Vegetation management is being carried out at some sites, either to provide more cover or, on sites like Coquet and Inchmickery, to suppress tall dense vegetation.

The RSPB has previously co-funded an educational programme in Ghana to try to reduce the level of winter trapping. Further studies of trapping in Ghana have now been initiated with the Ghana Wildlife Society.
2004 News
73 pairs of Roseate Tern took to the atificial nest boxes although two were 'taken' by Puffins.These artificial sites turned out to be invaluable as many hundreds of Common and Arctic Tern chicks perished in this years wet weather.Roseate's were luckier and although 29 chicks died, the majority survived thanks to the shelter provided by the boxes.However worse news was to come as a shortage of sand eels lead to many chicks starving to death.Adult birds resorted to catching alternative food including the rather unpalatable pipe fish, which meant that only the strongest chicks survived .Wardens had to physically remove pipe fish (which can grow up to 35cm) from some of the chicks throats to stop them choking.This year, the roseate terns fledged 63 chicks, compared to 80 in 2003. the last bird departing on 1st September. Click here for 'The Birds of Coquetdale (including Coquet Island)'.

Early nesting

Early nesting

Data from the Nest Record Scheme provide strong evidence of shifts towards earlier laying in a range of species, linked to climate change (Crick et al. 1997, Crick & Sparks 1999). We have now identified 31 species that, on average, are laying up to 26 days earlier than they did 34 years ago. This latest report adds four species to our previous list of earlier layers; Great Tit, Reed Warbler, Wren and Blackbird.(shown left) To help with the BTO's vital conservation work click the image (left)

Increased breeding success

Increasing breeding performance may be helping to drive population expansion of a number of rapidly increasing species: the predatory Grey Heron, Sparrowhawk and Buzzard; the corvids Jackdaw, Magpie, Carrion Crow and Rook; the seed-eaters Collared Dove and Stock Dove; and the insectivores Pied Wagtail, Robin, Wren, Nuthatch and Great Tit.

Reduced breeding success

Reduced breeding success

There are a number of species for which declines in breeding performance are likely to be driving the population declines (Linnet (SHOWN LEFT) and Lapwing) or helping to inhibit recovery (possibly Reed Bunting). The importance of decreases in individual aspects of breeding performance for declining Yellow Wagtail, Dunnock, Willow Warbler and House Sparrow remain to be determined, as do the implications of the large reductions in CES productivity measures recorded for Song Thrush, Whitethroat and Lesser Redpoll. Many declining species show improving productivity, probably as a consequence of density-dependent processes (there are more resources available to feed the young when population numbers are low. To help with the BTO's vital conservation work click the image (left)

Great Times Ahead for the Coughs on Ramsey

It takes a special type of person to spend time isolated on an island off the coast of Wales, working to keep it in an ideal condition for the birds and other wildlife that live there.Greg Morgan is that person on Ramsey Island, and has been out in allweathers watching the choughs....
'One of the first signs that the choughs were nesting here again was in mid- March when I spotted them gathering twigs and sheep's wool for their nests.
'I have to look out for this type of activity as the choughs make their nests in caves and crevices so that they are sheltered from the elements and protected from predators.This makes my job of finding nest-building pairs a considerable challenge as they're very hard to see.
'I sit for an hour, which might sound like a nice way to spend the time, but usually it is on an exposed headland in a gale! It is all part of the battle of wits between warden and choughs.When a pair finally dives into a cave, with their beaks full of nesting material, it is all worthwile.
We had nine breeding pairs this year and 15 young fledged - not quite as many as last year (04)
Unforunately heavy stormy weather in May seems to have had an impact at a vital time for chick survival'.

Positive changes

Positive changes

Relatively few species show evidence of improvements in status. Song Thrush numbers have increased by 20% over the last 10 years but even after this recovery they show a 51% decline over the last 35 years.. The 25-year decline measures for Marsh Tit and Reed Bunting are now below 50% as a result of their declines having levelled out in recent years. However, all of these species will need to show further improvements in status if they are to become candidates to leave the red list. For similar reasons Dunnock, Grey Wagtail and Goldcrest could become candidates for removal from the amber list. Overall, most species that have declined show little sign of recovery in the last ten years (only six of the 37 species with long-term declines).

The Song Thrush (shown left) is now showing some signs of population recovery following a large decline

Fourteen species have more than doubled over the longest time period for which data are available (usually 35 years). These are Mute Swan, Mallard, Coot, Oystercatcher, Buzzard, Stock Dove, Collared Dove, Woodpigeon, Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch, Blackcap, Magpie, Carrion Crow. To help with the BTO's vital conservation work click the image (left)

New alerts

New alerts

In the 2004 report, the BTO draw special attention to the alerts for three species that have recently crossed the 50% decline threshold. These are Yellow Wagtail (-67%), Willow Warbler (shown left) (58%) and Cuckoo (56%). These may be candidates for future addition to the red section of the Population Status of Birds (PSOB) list.

The BTO also identify two species that may become candidates to join the amber list due to declines of between 25% and 49%. These are Common Sandpiper (-29% over 27 years) and Lesser Whitethroat (-27% over 25 years). Red-legged Partridge also falls within this decline category
(-48% over 25 years) but would not be a candidate for amber listing because it is introduced. To help with the BTO's vital conservation work click the image (left)

Declining species

Declining species

Best trend estimates over the longest available time period (usually 35 years) provide alerts to rapid declines of greater than 50% for 23 species. These are Grey Partridge, Little Grebe, Woodcock, Turtle Dove, Cuckoo, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Skylark, Tree Pipit, Yellow Wagtail, Song Thrush, Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Marsh Tit, Willow Tit, Starling, House Sparrow, Tree Sparrow, Linnet, Lesser Redpoll, Bullfinch, Yellowhammer and Corn Bunting.

Most of these rapidly declining species are already red- or amber-listed on the Population Status of Birds list (Gregory et al. 2002).

The Turtle Dove (left) is one of a number of farmland birds that show rapid declines over the last 35 years
The Whitethroat decline results from the severe crash between 1968 and 1969 linked to conditions on the wintering grounds. The Little Grebe decline should be treated with caution as we only have long-term data from waterways. Lesser Redpoll, Tree Pipit and Woodcock also have limited data. For several of the species listed here long-term trend data are only available for England, where BTO has more volunteers to record information. Different long-term trends could be operating in other parts of the UK.

A further 12 species trigger alerts as a result of long-term declines of between 25% and 49% over periods of 25 to 35 years. These are Red-legged Partridge, Kestrel, Lapwing, Redshank, Common Sandpiper, Meadow Pipit, Grey Wagtail, Dunnock, Mistle Thrush, Lesser Whitethroat, Goldcrest and Reed Bunting. Most of these species are already on the PSOB list on account of their population declines. To help with the BTO's vital conservation work click the image (left)

The Birder's Market | Resource | Bird news for Britain / Rest of the World | UK Bird News | Bird News for United Kingdom 2006  | Bird News England (Archive) |  Bird news 2005 United Kingdom

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