Nature: Bird population on the rise

The bird population in Britain has boomed over the past two years, according to a big survey. Between 1994, when the Breeding Birds Survey was established, and 1996, 36 of the more common species increased, 48 were stable and 15 declined in number.

Among those on the up were the grey partridge and the bullfinch, both of which have given conservationists cause for concern because of sustained decline over several decades. Among the declines were two birds of prey, the sparrowhawk and the kestrel, and the swift, wren and mistle thrush. The survey is carried out by 2,000 binocular-wielding volunteers who look out for birds in a big sample of one-by-one kilometre squares scattered across Britain, from uplands to city centres.

1 Breeding Bird Survey, 1995-96, pounds 5, from the BTO, The Nunnery, Thetford, Norfolk IP24 2PU, Tel: 01842 750050.