Many na­tive birds in dan­ger of be­com­ing ex­tinct

BIRD­WATCH IRE­LAND ALARM­ING FIND­INGS IN RE­PORT FROM NEW­CAS­TLE-BASED GROUP

Bray People - - Social Scene - Myles BUCHANAN

A NEW RE­PORT has re­vealed an alarm­ing de­cline in bird pop­u­la­tions through­out Ire­land, with 25 species now added to the ‘red list.’

While re­serves like the one sit­u­ated at New­cas­tle al­low the birds sanc­tu­ary in an en­vi­ron­ment suited to them, all too of­ten their nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment has ei­ther dis­ap­peared or is al­ready heav­ily en­croached upon.

Bird­Watch Ire­land and RSPB North­ern Ire­land car­ried out the sur­vey, as­sess­ing 199 birds in all, with 25 added to the ‘red list’ and 85 to the ‘Am­ber List.’ Since the last re­view in 1999 the num­ber of ‘Red Listed’ birds has in­creased by seven.

In­cluded on the dan­ger list are such well known birds as the Barn Owl, Red Grouse, Her­ring Gull, Corn­crake, Quail and Grey Par­tridge.

Dr. Stephen New­town is based out of the New­cas­tle re­serve and is coau­thor of the re­port and ac­knowl­edges that the sit­u­a­tion has wors­ened.

‘We will lose many of th­ese birds from our shores if con­certed and im­me­di­ate action is not taken. It is only a few short years since the corn bunt­ing went ex­tinct as a breed­ing species here. Many oth­ers are now in dan­ger of fol­low­ing suit.’

He adds that of par­tic­u­lar con­cern are seabirds, mi­gra­tory wa­ter­fowl and farm­land birds.

‘Iconic species such as the barn owl, corn­crake, curlew and yel­lowham­mer all face an un­cer­tain fu­ture. How­ever, action to help many of th­ese birds is be­ing put in place. We be­lieve that by work­ing to­gether across this is­land, the prob­lems faced by our most threat­ened birds can be over­come to al­low re­cov­ery,’ con­tin­ues Dr. New­town.

The ‘ Red List’ in­cludes bird pop­u­la­tions that have de­clined by over 70 per cent.

How­ever, County Wick­low has al­ready played its part when in July of 2007 30 young Red Kites were in­tro­duced to the wild as part of a pro­gramme to re­store the na­tive bird of prey to Ire­land. The project was a part­ner­ship be­tween the Golden Ea­gle Trust, the Na­tional Parks and Wildlife Ser­vice and the Welsh Kite Trust.

CLOCK­WISE, FROM TOP LEFT: The red grouse, yel­lowham­mer, her­ring gull and corn­crake, as well as the barn owl (right), are among the many bird species in dan­ger of be­ing lost to Ire­land.

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