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Old Monday 26th March 2007, 11:19   #1
Chris Monk
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Post 2007 winter sees fewer birds in our gardens - RSPB

2007 winter sees fewer birds in our gardens

http://www.rspb.org.uk/birds/bgbwresults07.asp

The RSPB believes milder winter temperatures across Europe and bumper fruit crops in hedgerows and woodlands contributed to more birds feeding in the countryside and fewer visiting UK gardens during the winter.

The RSPB's 2007 Big Garden Birdwatch results show smaller numbers of several songbirds in gardens, most notably those whose winter numbers are usually swelled by seasonal migrants from the continent.

Blackbirds, song thrushes and robins were at their lowest levels in gardens for five years. Above-average winter temperatures across Europe have resulted in reduced migration to the UK and consequently, numbers of song thrushes and blackbirds spotted in gardens have declined by nearly two thirds (65 per cent) and a quarter (25 per cent) respectively in a single year.

'the varying birds visiting our gardens is one example of the impact climate change is having on the natural world'Ruth Davis, the RSPB's Head of Climate Change Policy said, 'As our climate changes the distribution of birds will change and they will adapt their behaviour. A snap-shot in winter gives only part of the picture, but the varying birds visiting our gardens is one example of the impact climate change is having on the natural world.

'Although the mild winter seems to have provided more food for songbirds in the countryside this year, as changes to our climate become more extreme, many birds will struggle to cope with the altered weather patterns. We can all help to minimise the impact of climate change by the action we take in our everyday lives.'

Participants in Big Garden Birdwatch also noted a decrease in the number of resident birds. Greenfinches, in particular, have dropped four places down the Big Garden Birdwatch top ten, from sixth to tenth - a decline of more than a quarter since 2006.

Richard Bashford, the RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch co-ordinator, added: 'Some birds were seen more often in gardens. Starlings and house sparrows, showed small increases in the average number per garden. This is the third year in a row the starling has increased and we're hopeful that this trend will continue.'

Over the weekend of 27-28 January, more than 400,000 people counted more than 6.5 million birds across 236,000 gardens as part of the RSPB's annual Big Garden Birdwatch.

The house sparrow retained its top spot with an average of 4.42 per garden, however its numbers have decreased by more than half since 1979. The starling remained in second place and the blue tit completed the top three, with average numbers of 3.67 and 2.82 per garden respectively.

In conjunction with Big Garden Birdwatch, more than 1,200 schools involving 41,000 children and their teachers took part in Big Schools' Birdwatch. Children, with the blessing of their teacher, spent an hour gazing out of their classroom window to count the birds in their school grounds.

Read the full Birdwatch results on our Big Garden Birdwatch pages: http://www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch

26 March 2
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Old Monday 26th March 2007, 11:25   #2
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Post Mild winter encourages birds to abandon gardens for country life

Mild winter encourages birds to abandon gardens for country life

By Michael McCarthy, Environment Editor, The Independent
Published: 26 March 2007

The recent near-record warm winter has been pretty good for birds - so good, in fact, that many of them have deserted our gardens.

This year's Big Garden Birdwatch run by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) has shown smaller numbers of several songbirds in gardens, most notably those whose winter numbers are usually swelled by seasonal migrants from the continent.

Milder winter temperatures across Europe, the RSPB believes, and bumper fruit crops in hedgerows and woodlands contributed to more birds feeding in the countryside and fewer visiting UK gardens.

Above-average winter temperatures across Europe have resulted in reduced migration to the UK, and consequently numbers of song thrushes and blackbirds spotted in gardens have declined by 65 per cent and 25 per cent respectively in a single year. Ruth Davis, the RSPB's head of climate change policy, said: "A snapshot in winter gives only part of the picture, but the varying birds visiting our gardens is one example of the impact climate change is having on the natural world."

Participants in the Big Garden Birdwatch also noted a decrease in the number of resident birds. Greenfinches have dropped four places down the birdspotters' top 10, from sixth to tenth - a decline of more than a quarter since 2006.

Big Garden Birdwatch, which has been running since 1979, is thought to be the biggest natural history mass-participation exercise in the world. Participants are asked to watch their gardens or visit a park for one hour and record all the species of birds they see. Over the last weekend in January this year, more than 400,000 people counted 6.5 million birds.

House sparrows retained the top spot with an average of 4.42 per garden, although their numbers have fallen by more than half since 1979.
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Old Monday 26th March 2007, 11:26   #3
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The conclusions being drawn from the data really surprise me (for example, to blame "climate change" for a two-thirds drop in song thrush numbers this winter). The mild winter co-incided with a bumper berry crop, it seems to me.

If this is the best the RSPB can come up with then I think they need to try harder.
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Old Monday 26th March 2007, 13:47   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scampo
The conclusions being drawn from the data really surprise me (for example, to blame "climate change" for a two-thirds drop in song thrush numbers this winter). The mild winter co-incided with a bumper berry crop, it seems to me.

If this is the best the RSPB can come up with then I think they need to try harder.

Our local paper quoted an RSPB representative as saying the hoopoe that turned up at Boulmer on the Northumberland coast in autumn 2005 was here because of global warming.

Nowt to do with the spell of easterly winds we'd had just before it was found, then.
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Old Monday 26th March 2007, 13:50   #5
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[quote=scampo]The conclusions being drawn from the data really surprise me (for example, to blame "climate change" for a two-thirds drop in song thrush numbers this winter). The mild winter co-incided with a bumper berry crop, it seems to me.
[quote]

But it does say that:

Milder winter temperatures across Europe, the RSPB believes, and bumper fruit crops in hedgerows and woodlands contributed to more birds feeding in the countryside and fewer visiting UK gardens.

Both factors were responsible.
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Old Monday 26th March 2007, 13:51   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan Seaton
Our local paper quoted an RSPB representative as saying the hoopoe that turned up at Boulmer on the Northumberland coast in autumn 2005 was here because of global warming.

Nowt to do with the spell of easterly winds we'd had just before it was found, then.
It's a newspaper.

Our local paper misquoted and RSPB rep is probably closer to the mark.

Newspapers can't get facts right even when they try.
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Old Monday 26th March 2007, 13:56   #7
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Anyone trying to attribute any specific event (a hoopoe, one specific warm winter) to climate change is a total idiot. Climate change is a TREND, not an EVENT.

The RSPB are just fishing for more funds on this one. Expect a glut of research proposals to government about the impact of global warming on birds in gardens.
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Old Monday 26th March 2007, 13:58   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Pennington
It's a newspaper.

Our local paper misquoted and RSPB rep is probably closer to the mark.

Newspapers can't get facts right even when they try.

I realise that. I'm not thick.

But just because the newspaper says he said it there is no reason to believe the opposite.
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Old Monday 26th March 2007, 14:19   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Pennington
It's a newspaper.

Our local paper misquoted and RSPB rep is probably closer to the mark.

Newspapers can't get facts right even when they try.
A local paper described me as 'Loch Levens answer to Bill Oddie.'

Could'nt be futher from the truth accept I'm fat, a little camp and have a beard at the moment....

I don't have sponsership with well known clothing range or binocular compand and I don't work for the beeb.
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Old Monday 26th March 2007, 14:41   #10
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The beeb has currently got Oddie learning a musical instrument, as if he'd never tried his hand at music before. Despite him being one of the biggest selling pop music writers and composers of the 1970s.

You just can't trust anyone anymore, can you?!
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Old Monday 26th March 2007, 15:25   #11
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If he's had no musical training in his life it would very much explain the Funky Gibbon...
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Old Monday 26th March 2007, 20:49   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Pennington
...Newspapers can't get facts right even when they try.
Sometimes - and then on purpose. But this evening the BBC showed an interview with an RSPB spokesperson who summarised matters in just the same way. Pretty daft if you ask me.
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Old Monday 26th March 2007, 22:03   #13
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Quite shocked by an item on C4 news at 7:00pm tonight - which up to now I had considered the broadcast least likely to be inaccurate/lazy/sensationalist/crap....

The thrust of their piece was that the significant drop in birds recorded during the BGBW was because they were all dying out due to global warming ie no reference to the probable correlation between a very mild winter providing plenty of natural food in the countryside and hence less need for birds to be driven to use birdtables etc.

They then bolstered this up with a short piece from an RSPB spokesman, saying that global warming was certain to lead to the extinction of certain species (not necessarily in the UK) It was unclear whether this latter piece had been recorded in response to this particular story or was just a piece of archive footage tacked on the end.

Rubbish journalism of the worst kind - I'm reverting back to Ch5!!
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