1. ITV Report

Garden starlings decline by 79%

Murmuration of starlings as the number of starlings seen in people's gardens has fallen by almost four-fifths in less than 25 years Photo: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

The UK charity RSPB have announced that the number of common garden starlings are at an all time low since the survey began more than thirty years ago. Starlings have been on a downward trend for the past 25 years and have declined by almost 80%.

The starling famous for its winter displays known as "murmurations" involving up to hundreds of thousands of birds, has seen a steady decline in numbers most years since the RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch began in 1979.

Decline in number of starlings across Europe Credit: ITV News

It is not clear what is causing the declines, although possible causes include changes in their feeding habits and reductions in their insect food in the soil. RSPB scientist Mark Eaton said:

"Despite usually being such a familiar and still widespread bird, their numbers have steadily dropped most years since 1979.

"We've been monitoring this decline and encouraging people to step up and help birds like starlings, but we will also be conducting some scientific research into the exact reasons for these declines.

The annual Big Garden Birdwatch survey, which involved 600,000 people this year also revealed that there were 22% less blackbirds this year.