The UK government has revealed that the populations of some iconic countryside birds fell last year to their lowest levels since 1970. The RSPB (BirdLife in UK) believes that following the removal of set-aside earlier this year, further declines in farmland birds are inevitable.
The UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs recently published data revealing further declines in the overall numbers of farmland birds across the UK. Analysis of the figures reveals that the collective population of farmland birds, including Grey Partridge Perdix perdix, Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus and European Turtle-dove Streptopelia turtur, has fallen to less than half of the level in 1970.
The RSPB is particularly concerned about further declines of farmland birds that will inevitably be triggered by the scrapping of set-aside earlier this year. This measure took farmland out of agricultural food production and provided beneficial habitats for many farmland birds.
Gareth Morgan added: "the declines in farmland birds reported today do not include those that will be lost because of the scrapping of set-aside. Unless compensatory measures can be put in place to cover the void left by the removal of set-aside, farmland birds will continue to slide, putting even more extreme pressure on some populations”.
Fotografia: Cruixidell (Embereiza calandra), Xavier Romera