Dramatic drop in wintering birds numbers

Recent figures show a significant fall in the numbers of some bird species which arrive in Scotland over the winter.

Mallard; Dramatic fall in numbers over past 30 years.
© RSPB

New figures have shown a dramatic drop in the numbers of some birds species arriving in Scotland over winter.

The mallard duck population has almost halved over the past 30 years, according to a new study.

Mallard numbers in Scotland are boosted each winter with an influx of birds from north and eastern Europe.

New figures show a drop of winter populations by around 46% since 1982, and by 32% in 1998.

The annual State of the UK's Birds report also shows a 70% drop in pochard numbers, 53% decrease in goldeneye and 40% drop in Greenland white-fronted goose numbers, all since 1982.

It is not yet clear why bird numbers have dropped, but waterbird monitoring schemes in other parts of Europe have revealed birds are not migrating as far west or south, because of milder conditions elsewhere.

In Scotland the downward trend is not universal, with wintering numbers of wigeon, gadwall, teal and pink-footed geese all increasing over the same period.

Stuart Housden, RSPB Scotland director, said: "Scotland has some of the most ornithologically important wetland sites in the UK, home to vital populations of waders and waterbirds, and valuable feeding ground for millions of migrating birds.

"The fact that fewer of these winter visitors are reaching the UK may well reflect progressively milder winter conditions further north and east across Europe.

"This is a reminder that we still have much to learn about the long term impacts of climate change and its consequences for wildlife across the globe."

The future of the Greenland white-fronted goose is of particular concern because Scotland hosts a significant proportion of the world population of this bird, on Islay, Caithness and the wetlands on the south west, he added.

Susan Davies, Scottish Natural Heritage director of policy and advice said: "This assessment of where the UK’s bird populations are at present is important for working out what action needs to be taken both at home and internationally.

"Scotland has some world-class wetland sites and our bird populations are a vital indicator of the health of our environment. We ignore significant changes at our peril."

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check. That e-mail's already in our system. Please try again.
ShowHide
Forgot password?
This field is required. At least 6 characters please. Did you enter your details correctly?
If you've forgotten your details then use the 'Forgot password?' link.
Need to reset your password?

We'll send a link to reset your password to

We've sent you details on how to reset your password

Please check your email and follow the instructions.

Forgotten your email address?

Have you forgotten the email address that you previously joined with? Don't worry, by emailing enquiries@stv.tv we can help.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
At least 6 characters please
ShowHide
This field is required. At least 6 characters please.
You have to be 16 or over to join
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date
Type your full postcode and select your address This field is required. It doesn't look like you've entered a valid postcode. Can't find your address? Confirm the details you've given us are correct by clicking here

By continuing you agree to our Terms of Use, including our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy. Any issues contact us.

Upload Profile Picture

Please make sure your image is under 2mb in size and a valid JPG, PNG or GIF.

Are you sure?

Unfortunately, you'll be unable to access our premium content. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but if you change your mind you can rejoin us at any time.

Please verify your STV account

Please verify your STV account using the email we sent you. If you have lost the email, we can send you another one, just click the button below.

Thanks

We've sent you a new verification email.
Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify your account.

Welcome to STV
Thanks for joining us.

Oops!

Sorry, you must be at least 12 years old to place a vote for your Real Hero.

Please review our Voting Terms of Use for more information.

Oops!

Sorry! It seems that you are using a browser that is incompatible with our voting service.

To register your vote please copy the below URL in to your regular mobile browser. We recommend Google Chrome, or Safari.

http://shows.stv.tv/real-heroes/voting

Oops!

Sorry, you seem to have already voted in this category.

Thanks for voting

Now share your vote with friends on your social network

Share on twitter Share on facebook

Cast your vote

Please register or sign in to continue.

Cast your vote

This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date

Cast your vote

Please fill out this form to cast your vote. As you are under 16 years old you will not create an STV account. Why do we need these details?

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check.
Location This field is required.
Parental Consent This field is required.

That's you. All that's left is to click the 'Submit Vote' button below. By doing so, you confirm that you and your parent or guardian have read and accept our Voting Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Cookie policy, and that the details you have entered are correct. We'll look after them as carefully as if they were our own.