Watch the birdie

Country Life Every Week - - Town & Country -

IS now the sea­son for bird-watch­ing: two ini­tia­tives, the RSPB’S Big Gar­den Bird­watch (Jan­uary 28–30) and GWCT’S Big Farm­land Bird Count (Fe­bru­ary 3–12), en­cour­age the pub­lic to take note of the species spot­ted in their area, pro­vid­ing data that proves in­valu­able to the sur­vival of many birds.

Last year, the RSPB was sad to re­port a de­cline in star­lings and song thrushes, but the long­tailed tit flew into the top 10 for the first time in eight years, with an in­crease in sight­ings of 44%. Tur­tle doves, which have suf­fered a 93% UK pop­u­la­tion de­cline since 1994, have been given a boost, thanks to a new patch of land in Kent for breed­ing, do­nated by RSPB mem­bers. How­ever, it has al­ready been re­ported by the BTO that blue tits are miss­ing from our gar­dens this win­ter, after a washout sum­mer. Visit www.rspb.org.uk and www.gwct.org.uk to sign up.

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Data shows that the blue tit is de­clin­ing

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