The State of the UK's Birds 2011

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Eaton M.; Balmer, D.; Cuthbert, R.; Grice, P.; Hall, J.; Hearn, R.; Holt, C.; Musgrove, A.; Noble, D.; Parsons, M.; Risely, K.; Stroud, D.; Wotton, S. (2011). The State of the UK's Birds 2011. Report by British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), Countryside Council for Wales, Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), Natural England, Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA), Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), Scottish Natural Heritage, and Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT). pp 40.

To mark the 40th anniversary of the Ramsar Convention on wetlands, SUKB 2011 has a particular focus on waterbirds and their conservation. We review the impact of the Convention on waterbird conservation in the UK, and report on:


  • the return and spread of the crane as a breeding bird in the UK
  • the fortunes of our rarer breeding waterbirds, most of which are thriving
  • mixed fortunes for our breeding seabirds, with some – Arctic skua, herring gull and kittiwake amongst them – declining sharply
  • how in recent years many of our wintering waterbirds have begun to show population declines following decades of recovery or increase. For many, a shift in range in response to climate change is the most likely cause, but for others there may be genuine population-level declines
  • how the removal of rats from Henderson Island in the South Pacific, one of the UK’s Overseas Territories, is great news for that island’s breeding seabirds.


Of course, the report remains a one-stop shop for all the latest results from bird monitoring in the UK. Other headlines include:


  • both farmland and woodland indicators fell to their lowest ever levels in the UK, driven by further declines in habitat specialists such as turtle doves, grey partridges and corn buntings (farmland) and willow tits, lesser spotted woodpeckers and lesser redpolls (woodland)
  • we give an update on the status of birds on the UK's Biodiversity Action Plan priority species list
  • new surveys of hen harriers and capercaillie reveal national populations have declined recently
  • after a mammoth effort by more than 16,000 observers, fieldwork for the Bird Atlas 2007-11 is complete and the results are awaited eagerly.


Acknowledgement: This article was identified by the Crown Estate Wave and Tidal Knowledge Network.

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