If you’ve been wondering what the UK’s most popular bird is right now, you’re in luck. A recent UK bird population estimate report shows that the wren has remained the number one most common bird in our area.
The wren was ranked number one in the previous report published in 2013. Back in 2013, there were an estimated 8.5 million pairs. The numbers in the latest report have increased to an estimated 11 million pairs.
It’s not entirely clear why the numbers have increased, but it could be because we’ve been having a mild winter, which has been good for these little birds. Historically, it has not been uncommon for wren populations to fluctuate due to environmental factors.
The top 5 most common birds in the UK consist of:
1. Wrens (11 million pairs)
2. Robin (7.35 million pairs)
3. Sparrows (5.3 million pairs)
4. Wood pigeons (5.15 million pairs)
5. Blackbirds and chaffinches (5.05 million pairs each)
“It’s great to have these updated estimates of our bird populations. Knowing how many species we have is important for a number of reasons, not the least of which is to enable more informed decisions about conservation policy and site management. Thanks to several Thousands of volunteers who participated in various bird surveys gave us the data and were able to come up with these numbers.”
Ian Woodward, British Trust of Ornithology (BTO) – lead author of the paper.
Back in 2013, there were 1.15 million more chaffinch pairs than reported in the 2020 report. It’s a worrying question that requires further investigation into why the population of one of the UK’s most popular birds has fallen so dramatically.
Turtle doves have seen the greatest decline, from 75,000 breeding pairs in 1997 to just 3,600 in the 2020 report. The report also highlights that breeding numbers of any wading bird species here in the UK exceed 100,000. This is the first time both oystercatchers and lapwings have fallen below that figure.
The total number of breeding pairs in the UK remains similar to the 2013 report, with an estimated total of 85 million. Twenty different species have populations of over 1 million pairs.
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I am broadly interested in how human activities influence the ability of wildlife to persist in the modified environments that we create.
Specifically, my research investigates how the configuration and composition of landscapes influence the movement and population dynamics of forest birds. Both natural and human-derived fragmenting of habitat can influence where birds settle, how they access the resources they need to survive and reproduce, and these factors in turn affect population demographics. Most recently, I have been studying the ability of individuals to move through and utilize forested areas which have been modified through timber harvest as they seek out resources for the breeding and postfledging phases. As well I am working in collaboration with Parks Canada scientists to examine in the influence of high density moose populations on forest bird communities in Gros Morne National Park. Many of my projects are conducted in collaboration or consultation with representatives of industry and government agencies, seeking to improve the management and sustainability of natural resource extraction.
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