Which birds are missing from your area?

THERE are 73 million fewer birds in the UK than there were back in 1970, according to figures released by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) to mark today’s International Dawn Chorus Day.

Almost 30 million house sparrows, 20 million starlings, four million skylarks, two million blackbirds, and one million chaffinches have vanished from the UK in the past 53 years.

In total, 114 million birds have been lost, but there disappearance has been masked in part by new arrivals, such as little egrets and Cetti’s warblers, and by other species – including blackcaps, wood pigeons, and wrens – growing their numbers, giving an additional 41 million birds.

Now, the BTO has created an online tool to help people find out which species are now missing from their area.

Chief executive Juliet Vickery said: “BTO’s wealth of data means we can confidently report this alarming drop in the UK’s breeding bird population.

“Presenting these results at the local level – so that anyone can see the changes that have happened on their doorstep simply by entering their postcode – delivers a powerful message that the UK’s birds are in trouble, and that we all need to do more.

“In the [past] 50 years, my own area of Cambridgeshire farmland has experienced some of the highest declines of species in Britain and Ireland.

“I can no longer hope to hear nightingales singing or enjoy house martins quite literally sharing my home.

“Future generations may well not hear or see song thrushes, cuckoos or kestrels in the area either.

“We must all do more to reverse these relentless declines and we need to do it urgently.’’

Read more stories on Scottish Field’s wildlife pages.

Plus, don’t miss Andy Dobson’s article about wildcats in the May issue of Scottish Field magazine.