Upland birds

Half Scotland’s upland birds suffer significant long-term decline

More than half of Scotland’s upland birds, including the curlew and lapwing, have suffered a “significant long-term decline”, according to official statistics published yesterday. Scottish Natural Heritage’s latest Index of Abundance for Scottish Terrestrial Breeding Birds, reveals that ten of the 17 upland species fell in numbers between 1994 and 2016, contributing to an 16 per cent decrease among upland birds over the period.

Snowy Owl classed as Vulnerable for the first time

Striking, widespread and widely recognised, thanks in part to the Harry Potter books, the Snowy Owl Bubo scandiacus was previously listed as Least Concern, the lowest threat category of the IUCN Red List. However, this assessment was based on earlier figures that estimated the global population to number around 200,000 individuals, and the absence of evidence of significant declines.

Warning sounds for charismatic kea

New Zealand’s charismatic kea (Nestor notabilis) - and 2017‘s Bird of the Year - has just been reclassified to “endangered” by global conservation group BirdLife International. The alpine parrot was upgraded from “vulnerable” to “endangered” in BirdLife International’s reassessment of the threat status of birds for the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

New VCE study reveals population health of mountain songbirds

A 16-year study of mountain forest songbirds across New York and New England, including thrushes, warblers and other iconic species, has documented their population changes. Although species like Black-capped Chickadee and Swainson’s Thrush have thrived in the mountains during recent decades, some species that depend on the region’s evergreen forests of spruce and fir – notably Blackpoll Warbler – appear to have undergone substantial declines.

Long-term decline in red grouse numbers in British uplands

It is hard to believe now, but red grouse (Lagopus lagopus scotica)- the bird that is synonymous with heather moorland and the Glorious Twelfth of August - were once spotted in Leeds. It was after a severe January snowstorm back in the 1880s when, according Thomas Hudson Nelson’s The Birds of Yorkshire (1907) “large packs of birds came down into the lowlands.” Others were seen around the villages of Arthington and Weeton in Lower Wharfedale. As many as 500 of them were counted in one day, and a decade later similar hard weather forced them to scratch for food in fields around Harrogate.

Bird populations in steep decline in North America

North America has more than a billion fewer birds than it did 40 years ago, with the snowy owl (Bubo scandiacus) and the chimney swift (Chaetura pelagica) just two of the better-known species in dramatic decline across the continent, a recent survey has found. The total number of continental landbirds stands at about 10 billion, down from about 11.5 billion in 1970.

Neonicotinoids: Systemic Insecticides and Systematic Failure

The widespread adoption and use of neonicotinoid compounds originally considered to be environmentally benign can now potentially be considered to be an environmental catastrophe. While the generational development and production of neonicotinoids has focused on making these insecticides more potent to their target organisms at very small dosages, their adverse environmental consequences have largely remained overlooked. Imidacloprid was the first generation neonicotinoid to receive widespread attention for its environmental consequences.

Hawaii’s Honeycreepers Are in Serious Trouble

From ocean beach to mountain top, Hawaii was once full of birds, but populations went into decline beginning in the late 19th century. While ornithologists were cautiously optimistic that native birds might be able to recover, a new report suggests some of Hawaii’s most famous native birds may be on the verge of extinction—and a harbinger for worse things to come. The rare Hawaiian honeycreepers are among the most varied bird families around, a consequence of what’s called adaptive radiation, the same process that produced Darwin’s famously diverse finches.

Buntester Singvogel stark bedroht

Der Distelfink (Carduelis carduelis) steht für vielfältige und farbenfrohe Landschaften. Leider gibt es in Deutschland immer weniger davon. Nach Angaben des Dachverbands deutscher Avifaunisten (Vogelkundler) auf der Internet-Seite des Nabu-Bundesverbands ist die Zahl dieser Vögel in Deutschland von 1990 bis 2013 um 48 Prozent gesunken. Offizielle Schätzungen gehen derzeit von 305 000 bis 520 000 Brutpaaren deutschlandweit aus. „Im Winter sieht man an Odenwälder Futterplätzen zwischen 70 und 80 Stück“, erklärt die Beisitzerin des Nabu-Kreisverbands, Petra Kaffenberger, auf ECHO-Nachfrage.

The latest official statistics for Scotland’s terrestrial birds show significant declines for upland birds

The Index of Abundance for Scottish Terrestrial Breeding Birds, published today by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), shows that the long-term trend (1994-2014) for upland birds is a continuing decline, down by 19% since 1994. Curlew (Numenius arquata) is one of the upland species that has shown the greatest decline (-49%) and is now considered to be the UK’s highest conservation priority. Black Grouse (Tetrao tetrix) have also declined, by 47%. The Dotterel (Charadrius morinellus) is a wading bird which breeds at high altitude in the Scottish uplands and has also shown alarming declines, falling by 60% between 1994 and 2014. The Farmland Bird Indicator in Scotland shows mixed fortunes. Species such as Goldfinch, Corncrake, Common Whitethroat and Reed Bunting are all doing well but Kestrel (-77%) and Lapwing (-58%) have fared less well, the former showing the greatest decline of any index species since 1994. Agricultural intensification and predation are likely to be the main drivers of Lapwing decline.