Endangered birds stage a comeback

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The Independent Online

One of Britain's most endangered birds, the song thrush, is staging a dramatic recovery after suffering a steep and rapid decline in numbers.

One of Britain's most endangered birds, the song thrush, is staging a dramatic recovery after suffering a steep and rapid decline in numbers.

The song thrush is one of the best-known garden birds on the official "red list" of most threatened species. But after a decade of gloomy predictions, a national survey has found that the number of young song thrushes leapt by 57 per cent last year.

Other successful species include the dunnock, and the blackbird, which saw a 41 per cent rise in young. The findings, from the latest annual bird-ringing survey by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), suggest that more environmentally sensitive farming practices, and warmer, wetter summers, have helped some birds.

"Song thrushes have reacted badly to the drainage and drying out of the British countryside over the last few decades," Dr Rob Robinson of the BTO said. "In a year with frequent rainfall they can boost productivity by over 50 per cent. It's so much easier to find nice, juicy earthworms when the ground is damp."

The blue tit and great tit, also enjoyed a surge in numbers, with breeding rates up by 58 and 56 per cent respectively. Robins, wrens and chaffinchs also had a much better year.

The encouraging figures come as bird-lovers stand by to record sightings near to home for the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch, next weekend.

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