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The latest report on UK’s breeding birds shows mixed results - British Trust for Ornithology (BTO)

Greenfinches by Edmund Fellowes
Greenfinches by Edmund Fellowes

The latest Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) report, covering population trends for the UK’s bird species, is released today.This report is a celebration of the dedication of the volunteers who give up their time and take part in bird surveying; collectively they walked 14,996km whilst actively surveying in 2019.

The distance walked in 2019 is the equivalent of walking from the BTO’s headquarters in Norfolk to Palmer Land in Antarctica! Since the survey began in 1994, the total distance walked by BBS volunteers is a staggering 299,701km, almost seven and a half times around the World! But what has it told us?
The report covering the population changes of UK’s breeding birds shows that one of our most widespread and common bird is in trouble and disappearing from large parts of the country, and how skilled volunteers are helping to monitor the changes as they unfold.
The Greenfinch is a familiar bird, being a frequent visitor to garden feeding stations across the UK, but how much longer might this be the case? The 2019 Breeding Bird Survey results show an alarming decline. During the last 23 years, the Greenfinch population has fallen by 64%.
The main driver behind this change is a parasite that causes a disease called trichomonosis. Known as a disease in cage birds for some time, it was first noted in British finches in 2006. Infected birds become lethargic, have fluffed-up feathers and are unable to swallow food. Transmission between birds can be via contaminated food and water, e.g. at garden feeding stations. Good feeding station hygiene, with regular cleaning and disinfecting can help to slow the spread. The Trichomonas gallinae parasite is a parasite of birds and does not pose a health risk to humans or their mammalian pets.

Access the report here

Posted on: 07 May 2020

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