Many native birds in danger of becoming extinct
BIRDWATCH IRELAND ALARMING FINDINGS IN REPORT FROM NEWCASTLE-BASED GROUP
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.