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Trevor Gunton writes....

As I see it - our changing bird population

As I write, it is late March and it seems that the whole of the UK is in 'lockdown'.  Many of us are looking to our gardens to help keep in touch with the natural world.  With around 23 million private gardens in the UK, covering an area about the size of Suffolk, our gardens are of increasing importance for wildlife.

Some startling facts have recently come to light, most concerning is that the chaffinch, once Britain's commonest bird, has in the last five years declined by 23%. Why is this, you may ask?

The answer is: 'No idea'.  But a lot of work is being carried out to try and find the reason for this collapse of the chaffinch population.  Greenfinch numbers are also well down.  One thing we all could do is to make sure that your bird feeders are kept clean.  However, both locally and nationally some of our familiar birds are doing well.  These include the great spotted and green spotted woodpeckers, collared doves, woodpigeons and jackdaws.  How often do you see these birds in your garden?

If you are confined to the house, why not make a list of the birds seen each day?  The most we have ever recorded is 19 species in a period of cold weather.

Talking of changing bird populations, we need more facts.  So, if you ever see any breeding house martins, swallows, coal tits or spotted fly catchers, around your house or outbuilding, please let me know.

I am often asked, what is the most common bird in Britain?  Most folk are surprised to know that it is the wren with over 11 million pairs.  How amazing is that?

The wren is followed by everyone's favourite, the robin with 7.35 million pairs - do you have robins breeding in your garden?  All our wildlife need a little TLC at the moment - Little Paxton remains great for wildlife.  And do not forget to feed - and provide water for our garden birds.

Thank you.

Trevor

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