July 2nd, 2019
The populations of a host of birds, including iconic species such as the Barn Owl and Curlew, have been “decimated” over the past few decades, BirdWatch Ireland has said.
Speaking before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Heritage today, BWI’s assistant head of policy and advocacy Oonagh Duggan said that climate change, the intensification of the agricultural industry, habitat loss, and plastic pollution are all contributing to the decline in numerous terrestrial and sea birds.
Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, Ms Duggan said that the conservation charity has seen “dramatic changes” to both Ireland’s landscape and biodiversity over the past half century.
Ms Duggan said that one in five of species that have been assessed on our island are now threatened with extinction, with “dramatic changes” particularly evident in bird populations.
While some bird species are quite adaptable to habitat change, she warned that many are seeing such a rapid loss of their habitats that they “cannot cope with the change, and their populations have been decimated”.
For example, Ms Duggan said, Ireland has lost around 40 per cent of waterbirds – close to half a million birds – that migrate to Ireland in less than 20 years. This includes a decline in over half of the 15 wader species that winter here, such as Lapwing that is down 67 per cent.