UK wildlife: British bird populations soaring

Last updated at 15:09
GoldfinchEdmund Fellowes/BTO
More Goldfinch are being seen in our gardens

Do you like watching a variety of feathery friends in your garden, local park or school field?

Well, you're not alone! Britain loves birds! And the good news is that the population of some garden bird species have grown and a larger variety of birds are visiting our gardens.

Research from the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) reveals that the amount and types of birds in garden bird communities has significantly changed over the past 40 years.

Why are some bird populations growing?

Well, in some ways it's down to us.

The UK's hobby of putting up bird feeders in gardens has helped some bird species grow.

We now spend an estimated £200-300m on bird feeding products each year, providing an amount that could potentially keep 196 million birds full up. That's more than the combined total population of many common garden species!

WoodpigeonJill Pakenham/BTO
Woodpigeons have also experienced a rise in population

The number and variety of bird food products available has increased since the early-1970s, which has allowed a much broader range of species to take advantage of the new foods.

In the 1970s garden bird feeders were dominated by only two species, the House Sparrow and Starling.

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Watch these starlings flying together in a murmuration

Today, a larger variety of species is commonly seen.

The birds that have experienced the largest spike have been the Goldfinch and Woodpigeon.

The study underlines that the fun of feeding the birds visiting our gardens can have a significant effect on our garden wildlife!

We now know that garden bird feeding is one of many important environmental factors affecting British bird numbers. Regular visits to garden feeders in urban areas appear to have led to population growth across more than 30 different bird species

Dr Kate Plummer, Research Ecologist at BTO

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