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Starlings and songbirds on decline in East Lancs gardens
STARLINGS and song thrushes are being spotted less frequently in Lancashire according to the RSPB.
Though the birds are being seen in greater numbers elsewhere in the UK, in Lancashire both species were seen less frequently.
According to the results from this year’s RSPB Big Schools’ Birdwatch, starling increases were spotted in Greater Manchester but Lancashire, Merseyside and Cheshire all saw declines.
The song thrush population was down across the whole North West.
RSPB education officer for Northern England Emma Reed said: “It’s sad to see this drop in numbers among the North West’s garden birds like song thrushes and starlings. These are species that have suffered substantial losses over many years.
“We will see if this regional picture is reflected in the Big Garden Birdwatch results.
“It’s encouraging that so many children and teachers continue to take part in the Big Schools’ Birdwatch, despite the heavy snow and frozen temperatures that hit many parts of the country at the end of January this year.
“Children have fewer opportunities than ever to explore the world around them and get close to nature, but the Birdwatch gives them the green light to get to know wildlife and each year they go for it with boundless enthusiasm.”
Starling numbers began to decline in the UK in the early 1980s and dropped again in 1995. The cause of its decline is unknown but they are heavily dependent on earthworms and other soil invertebrates. The RSPB believe it is possible this food supply has either declined.
The song thrush is ‘red listed’ as a bird of serious conservation concern. There has been a partial recovery in numbers during the last decade. Its decline has probably been caused by the loss and degradation of feeding and nesting habitats.
A full picture of the region’s wild bird population will be available from the RSPB survey results from Thursday March 28, at www.rspb.org. uk/birdwatch.
Listen out for the their song
Starlings are thought to have dropped by a staggering 92 per cent in UK woodlands over the last few days.
The small black starling, which is now most common in gardens, emits a variety of chuckles and whistles plus imitations of other birdsongs.
From a distance starlings look a dull black but up close a rainbow of colours in their feathers becomes visible.
Song thrush numbers are declining seriously, especially on farmland making it a ‘red list’ species.
The song thrush’s habit of repeating song phrases distinguish it from singing blackbirds.
A favourite food of the song thrush is snails, which it breaks into by smashing them against a stone with a flick of the head.