Watch the birdie…

First it was farmland birds now its garden birds. Research out from the British Trust for Ornithology and their army of fantastic volunteers is showing that our feathered friends in our back gardens are struggling.

House Sparrow

The number crunching has shown some pretty dramatic declines in the last five decades. House Sparrows have fallen 70 per cent in 50 years and House Martins, Greenfinch and Mistle Thrush are suffering.

This should be ringing alarm bells for us all. Garden birds are often our most visible and audible symbol of the natural world. Watching birds in the garden can be the way in for kids into the wonderful world of nature and a re-assuring sign for millions of Brits: watching bird pecking at a worm on the lawn or singing their heart out in a tree. Garden birds, as shown by the annual festival of birdwatching that is the Big Garden Bird Watch, help us engage with nature day in day out without having to travel miles.

Reasons for the downward trend still need more research. The rise of gardens being turned into drives or the march of decking across the land has been well documented. Green space disappearing is bad news for the birds that live in our towns and cities.

The state of nature report from 2013 dramatically showed how many challenges nature faces from climate change, lost habitat and human activities. If these challenges continue and go unchecked that’s bad news for nature and ultimately bad news for us.

We all need to do our bit creating homes for nature in our gardens that will benefit the birds, bugs and butterflies. Put up a bird box or feeder in your garden to help out and make get your street, flats or terrace to come together and help create the right habitat.

Listening to a Blackbird belt out its morning tune or watching Jays dash across the garden gets me that little bit closer to nature. If we ignore the warning signs our world we be a poorer place with less bird song.

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