Letter: Save songbirds from hedgerow killer

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The Independent Online
Sir: The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the British Trust for Ornithology should be concerned about the decline in the populations of our native song and other birds (report, 16 April).

While pesticides should take some of the blame, why do none of the people who carry out these population surveys notice that the loss in small native birds seems to be balanced, if not out-performed by the huge rise in the magpie population? Magpies have become as common as any bird in towns and cities and ruthlessly destroy other birds' eggs and eat their young. I have watched the five magpies who now visit my garden in a gang systematically "work" a hedgerow and eradicate other birds' young.

The old poem said "one for sorrow". If I were a bullfinch, green finch or any other native nesting bird, seeing only one magpie would fill me with positive relief. When will the RSPB and BTO stop sitting around measuring population falls and take radical action to encourage a cull of the magpie population?

S G ARMSTRONG

Otford, Kent

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