As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Monday, 3 December 2012

New homes could see £20 million a year boost to wild bird conservation

Could the proposed new plans to build an additional 2 million homes over the next 20 years be a major boost to conservation of Britain’s wild birds? Surveys have shown that 70% of people with gardens will do something active to help wildlife. So with another 2 million homes that’s an additional 1.4 million households actively supporting wildlife.

The biggest action taken by people with gardens is feeding wildlife birds. Surveys have shown that between 60% and 70% of households with gardens will feed wild birds regularly.  A recent survey has shown that the UK bird food market is valued at £200 million a year. We can break that down to households pretty easily.

In the UK there is estimated to be 25 million homes, 20% of which are flats and apartments. While some flats will have gardens most will not – but then not all houses being built now have gardens either so we can assume they will cancel each other out. That leaves 20 million homes with gardens. With 70% of households feeding birds we can divide the £200 million by the 14 million households that feed birds. This means each home is spending £14.28 a year on bird feeding.  Personally I think this is an underestimate as I used to spend this amount each month not each year. But we’ll stick with this £14.28 a year figure.

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