British birds that we may lose for ever
The UK has one of the richest bird populations in the world. From the colourful red kite to the shy song thrush, there are over 200 species of birds that can be found in Britain. However, not all these birds are safe from extinction. In recent years, several species have been declining at an alarming rate. This is largely due to human interference and environmental changes.
The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) has created a list of birds that are currently under threat of extinction in Britain because their numbers have fallen so low. If we don’t act fast, some of these beautiful and important creatures could vanish forever.
The peregrine falcon is a very striking bird. It is dark brown with a grey breast, and the males have a distinctive black ‘moustache’. They are very large birds, with wingspans of around a metre.
The peregrine falcon is the fastest bird in the world. They are known for their elegant hunting skills, which they use to catch small mammals like mice and rabbits. They can even take out birds as large as swans! This is why they are often used as hunting falcons, used to catch game like pheasants and partridges.
Peregrine falcons were once extremely common in the UK, but since the 19th century they have suffered from a severe decline in numbers. This is mostly because of the use of the pesticide DDT, which became popular in the 1940s and 1950s. The pesticide was sprayed over farmland to kill insects that were damaging crops. Unfortunately, many birds ate the insects and died as well.
Fortunately, DDT was banned in the 1960s, and the peregrine falcon numbers have been on the rise ever since. However, the species is still on the red list and could go extinct if its numbers don’t increase.
Turtle doves are a species of small pink and grey dove that can be found all over the world. They are a very rare sight in the UK and are listed as ‘endangered’. In the last 50 years, the turtle dove’s population has fallen by over 90 per cent, and the species is predicted to become extinct in Britain in the next decade if nothing is done.
The main cause of the turtle dove’s declining population is the loss of its natural habitat. It was once a very common bird in Britain, but now it is only found in a few isolated areas across the country. There are conservation projects underway to protect turtle dove nests, but more action is needed if the species is to survive.
The corncrake is a small and iconic-looking bird, with a loud ‘cronk, cronk’ call. They are migratory birds that travel to the UK every spring from Africa and southern Europe. In the past, corncrakes were a very common sight in the UK and were even a symbol of Ireland. However, due to a loss of habitat and the introduction of pesticides, the corncrake’s population has drastically fallen.
In the past 50 years, the numbers of corncrakes in Britain have fallen by 99 per cent.
The corncrakes have been hunted for food, and their eggs have been eaten by predators. Finally, the common mynah bird, which is a species of stork, has been introduced to the UK. It has eaten the corncrakes’ eggs and chased the adults away from their nests. Currently, there are only a few hundred corncrakes left in Britain, and they are on the red list.
The red-throated diver is a beautiful bird that migrates to the British Isles from Scandinavia every year. It breeds on the coasts of Britain, nesting in rocky areas or on islands. Sadly, it is on the endangered species list and its numbers are declining. There are now only around 500 breeding pairs left in Britain. The biggest threats to the red-throated diver are the change in sea levels and the fragmentation of its breeding grounds. As sea levels rise, the rocky areas where the red-throated diver nests will be flooded. Also, large areas of land that are used as nesting sites are being turned into roads, buildings and farmland.
Barn owls are a common but easily overlooked species of owl found across the UK. They were once very common, but they have now declined by as much as 80 per cent in some areas. This is largely due to the loss of their natural habitat and the use of pesticides. The barn owl is protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act, but it is still listed as ‘endangered’.
Bitterns are large, impressive birds that are often called “nature’s timpanists” because they produce booming sounds with their windpipes during mating season. They are mostly black and white in colour, with soft feathers and bright orange eyes. Bitterns were once extremely common in the UK, but their numbers have been decreasing since the 1900s. This is because of human interference with their habitat, such as building houses and draining their breeding marshes. The birds have also been poached for food and hunted because people thought they were harmful to fish.
There are currently only a few hundred bitterns left in Britain, and they are on the red list.
Blue tits are small and beautiful birds that can be found all over the UK. There are many different types of tits, but the blue one is the most common. They are very social animals that usually live in small groups. They feed on insects and build nests in trees and houses. Blue tits are omnivores, which means that they eat both plants and small animals. The blue tit is a very common species, but since the 1970s its numbers have been decreasing. This is because of human interference with their habitat and the introduction of new predators.
Sparrowhawks are very common birds of prey found across the UK. They are very distinctive with their brown and white feathers and ‘moustache’.
The females are larger and stronger than the males, and they usually hunt for larger prey than the males do. It regularly preys on smaller birds such as finches, blackbirds, and song thrushes.
Sparrowhawks were once a very common species, but their numbers have declined in recent years. They are now listed as ‘near threatened’ and are struggling across Britain. There are many potential causes for this dramatic decline, including habitat loss and the use of pesticides. Sparrowhawks are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, but more can be done to protect them.
Great Crested Grebes
The great crested grebe is a very distinctive species of waterfowl. They are mostly dark grey in colour with a vibrant orange bill. The great crested grebes were once a very common species in Britain, but they have declined significantly in recent years. They are now listed as ‘endangered’ and are struggling in most areas across the country. There are conservation efforts underway to protect the great crested grebes, but they are still endangered.
The black-throated diver is another species of duck that breeds in Britain. Unlike the red-throated diver, the black-throated diver is not very common in the UK and is listed as endangered. There are several reasons behind the black-throated diver’s decline. The main threat to the species is habitat change and loss, especially in the Thames Estuary. There have also been reports of black-throated divers being killed by anglers, who believe the birds are damaging their fish stocks. Another cause of the diver’s decline is the use of pesticides. While pesticides are designed to kill pests, they can also harm other species, such as the black-throated diver.
Brent geese are large and interesting water birds that can be found in the UK during the winter (June-August). They are mostly brown and white in colour and have a black patch on their chests. They are migratory birds, which means that they travel from the colder northern countries to warmer southern areas during the winter. Brent geese were once very common in the UK, but since the 1950s their numbers have been decreasing. This is because of the use of pesticides, habitat destruction and the introduction of new predators. There are currently only a few hundred brent geese left in the UK, and they are on the red list.
To Sum Up
The UK is home to a wide variety of beautiful birds. From songbirds to waterfowl, there is something for everyone. However, not all these birds are in good health. In recent years, several species have been declining at an alarming rate.
These birds have been around for thousands of years, and they have played an important role in our history and culture. Now, they need our help more than ever. There are many things we can do to protect these birds, from reducing our use of pesticides to creating better habitats for them. It is up to us to ensure that these birds survive for years to come. And it all starts with changing our behaviour.