Drawing heavily on the wide range of BTO surveys undertaken by volunteers in Wales, the latest edition of The State of Birds in Wales has been published. It marks the milestone of 10 years of reporting the fortunes of our bird populations.
BBS indices for 1995–2010 show that of the 51 native species widespread enough to be reported on individually, 16 had increased significantly, while eight had declined. Changes in the remaining 27 were too small to be statistically significant. Starlings and curlews grab the headlines for the wrong reasons, but house sparrows and black grouse are fairing relatively well, and great spotted woodpeckers have increased by a remarkable 192% over that time.
Could you take on a BBS square and help improve our data for those 27 species where we have insufficient data?
Guillemots are doing well, feeding on shoals of sprats off our coastlines which is contributing to good survival rates in contrast to other parts of the UK. Breeding is now 10 days earlier on Skomer than in 1995, which is thought to be a reaction to climate change. The internationally rare Balearic shearwater is observed in Welsh waters in increasing numbers.
The annual Beached Bird Survey shows a continued decline in dead birds found with no oiled birds noted in the last 3 years.
All this and much more, including section on weather, bird and climate change, golden plovers, devolution and some commentary on the future make for essential reading for anyone with an interest in birds in Wales.