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.

Friday 27 May 2016

London’s garden birds disappearing?

Birdwatch News Archive

Posted on: 26 May 2016

Results from the Big Garden Birdwatch suggest a decrease in numbers of garden birds in London, and the RSPB has commissioned special nest boxes to highlight this decline.

London’s most common garden birds seem to be quietly vanishing from the city's green spaces, and research has revealed that Starlings (down 34 per cent), Blackbirds (19 per cent), Blue Tits (14 per cent) and House Sparrows (13 per cent) have disappeared from its gardens over the past 12 years. This data on declining species has been taken from the RSPB’s 2016 Big Garden Birdwatch, the largest citizen science survey in Britain, and was collated and analysed by the RSPB’s Centre for Conservation Science.

There does indeed seem to be a general trend of decline, 
though this may be exaggerated this year by the effects of a very mild winter, which has seen many species foraging away from gardens, and an increase in the numbers of Goldfinches and Long-tailed Tits.

To highlight this decline and encourage Londoners to attract the missing birds back to the city, East Village – which has the recently created postcode E20 – has enlisted local Essex carpenter Pete Bagg to create a number of unique nest boxes in the form of iconic buildings of the London Skyline. These include historic buildings such as Buckingham Palace and Tower Bridge, along with to E20’s very own Arcelor Mittal Orbit and Lee Valley Velodrome. E20 has hosted breeding Black Redstarts in recent years. East Village is the former London 2012 Athletes’ Village and represents a green haven in the heart of one of the world’s largest cities.

Neil Young, CEO of Get Living London which rents and manages homes at East Village, said: “As one of London’s greenest neighbourhoods with a big emphasis on the natural environment, East Village has invested heavily to encourage wildlife. Whether it be through ‘living roofs’ on each apartment building, the 3,000 trees – newly planted in 2011 – or [providing] 25 acres of green open space, we have worked hard to make East Village eco-friendly. With the six-acre Wetlands – a brilliant habitat for native biodiversity – we are delighted to partner with the RSPB to create these unique bird boxes to help encourage even more birds into the neighbourhood.”

The quirky bird boxes will go on show outside Get Living London’s East Village ‘Welcome Office’ from 26th May and will eventually be placed around London’s newest neighbourhood in time for next year's breeding season. The scheme has been introduced this spring as a 'call to action' for the nation to play their part to encourage birdlife wherever they live in the UK.

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