Why some species are thriving outside southern England Jan 11th 2014
4,000 holes in Blackburn, Lancashire
WHEN people talk about a “north-south divide” in Britain they are usually referring to house prices, employment and the ratio of private-sector to public-sector jobs. The south scores higher on all such measures. But new data from the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), a research charity, hints at the growth of another north-south divide—this time to the north’s benefit.
Every 20 years the BTO produces a superbly detailed atlas of bird life in Britain and Ireland. The 2007 to 2011 edition is cheery: more species are tallied than in previous atlases, and many birds are increasing in number. Compared with two decades ago, 45% of regular native species are ranging more widely while 32% are living in smaller areas; the rest have stayed put. But the most striking news comes from the north.