1. ITV Report

One third of Welsh bird species in 'significant' decline

Numbers of breeding Curlew have declined. Credit: PA Images

A new report has found that a third of Welsh bird species are declining significantly.

Breeding birds of upland farmed habitats, such as curlew, golden plover, black grouse, red grouse and ring ouzel have all seen their numbers decline.

The new report, State of Birds in Wales 2018, has been produced by The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), the Welsh Ornithological Society (WOS), Natural Resources Wales (NRW) and RSPB Cymru.

The report also showed how breeding kittiwakes have declined by 35% in Wales since 1986, while the breeding range of black-headed gulls has shrunk by 52% since 1970.

We find it unacceptable that a third of Welsh birds are declining significantly and there has never been a more crucial time to get involved in the fight for nature's future.

With 90% of Wales farmed, agricultural practices have a huge impact on birds and other wildlife. Leaving the European Union provides a unique opportunity to develop new land management policies for Wales that will help farmers restore nature.

– Neil Lambert, RSPB Cymru Head of Conservation Management

The report also illustrates how Wales is home to a large proportion of the UK populations of many breeding and wintering species.

Wales has a global responsibility for Manx shearwater, where up to 60% of the world's breeding population are found on four Welsh Islands (Skomer, Skokholm, RSPB Ramsey and Bardsey).

Most bird monitoring in Wales is undertaken by volunteers who contribute over 5,000 hours of their expertise every year in surveys utilised in this report.

Birds are a great indicator to the health of our environment.

The continued population declines of birds of farmed, woodland and upland habitats suggest there are large geographic themes that are having a detrimental impact.

– Patrick Lindley, Maritime Ornithologist for Natural Resources Wales