'Drought will take toll on endangered birds'

A redshank
A redshank Credit: Andy Hay/RSPB

The RSPB has warned that some endangered bird species are at risk because of the drought. RSPB spokesman Tony Whitehead said: "Every indicator, whether river flow or groundwater level, is telling us that this is a very serious drought that could be worse than the infamous 1976 event"

He added: "Dry conditions [are] threatening to impact this spring’s breeding season in places such as the Somerset Levels and around the Exe Estuary. These are some of the last remaining homes in our countryside for breeding water birds such as snipe, redshank and lapwing."

A snipe
A snipe Credit: Andy Hay/RSPB

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Half of Britain in drought

The Environment Agency has declared official drought zones in a further 17 English counties and warned the shortages could last until Christmas or beyond. It is the worst national water shortage since 1976.