Big drop in county’s best loved birds

House Sparrow in bush.

House Sparrow in bush.

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SOME of the UK’s most threatened and best-loved bird species are continuing to decline in Northumberland, according to results from the RSPB’s annual Big Garden Birdwatch survey.

Starlings, a UK ‘red-listed’ species, meaning it is of the highest conservation concern, hit an all-time low in Birdwatch last year and their numbers dropped a further five per cent in Northumberland gardens this year.

Numbers of house sparrows, also on the red-list, dropped by seven per cent in Northumberland gardens compared to 2012, whilst bullfinches and dunnocks, both amber-listed, fell by 16 per cent and 12 per cent respectively.

Martin Harper, RSPB conservation director, said: “Several of our familiar and best-loved species have been declining at alarming rates over the 34 years that the RSPB has been running Birdwatch, and this year’s results show a continuing decline.

“We go to great lengths to ensure that special UK habitats are given the right levels of designation and legal protection because of their role in supporting threatened wildlife, but what’s very clear is that every one of our gardens, the places literally on our doorsteps, are important too.”

Almost 590,000 people across the UK, including 75,000 pupils and teachers at schools, took part in Birdwatch in January.

Visit www.rspb.org.uk/birdwatch and www.rspb.org.uk/schoolswatch to find out more about Big Garden Birdwatch.