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 15 February 2016

New atlas of Devon birds shows drastic declines - and some success stories

By WMNPBowern  |  Posted: January 29, 2016

A wildlife atlas compiled using more than a million records collected by bird-watchers shows alarming declines in many species - as well as some birds making a home in the South West for the first time.

The Devon Bird Atlas 2016 - unveiled today at Stover Park, near Newton Abbot - shows that since the first Atlas was published in 1988 eight species have disappeared from the county and 60 have suffered declines.

The story of wildlife's highs and lows, the culmination of eight years work by team from the conservation charity Devon Birds, is most starkly told in the story of just two species.
The nightingale, much-loved for its beautiful song, has been lost as a breeding bird in Devon. "It is a great sadness that this wonderful songster may never be heard again in Devon," the reports authors warn.

By contrast the elegant little egret was what birders call a 'rare vagrant' before 1989. But between 2007 and 2013 it was confirmed as a breeding species at ten sites in Devon with up to 50 birds seen at some roost sites.

Other birds facing serious declines include the cuckoo which has seen one of the largest declines since the publication of the first Atlas in 1988. It now breeds in only 372 tetrads (2km x 2km squares on the map) compared to 1,447 in the 1977–1985 survey. Breeding Cuckoos are now almost exclusively confined to Dartmoor.

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