Summer visitors to the UK top list of fastest-falling bird populations

Recent figures, from the annual Breeding Birds Survey carried out by the British Trust for Ornithology, show that between 1995 and 2009, the turtle dove Streptopelia turtur dropped in numbers by 74 per cent, the wood warbler Phylloscopus sibilatrix by 63 per cent and the nightingale Luscinia megarhynchos by 60 per cent. The whinchat Saxicola rubetra and the yellow wagtail Motacilla flava both declined by 55 per cent, the pied flycatcher Ficedula hypoleuca by 51 per cent, the cuckoo Cuculus canorus by 48 per cent and the spotted flycatcher Muscicapa striata by 47 per cent. "These losses are unsustainable, and if left unchecked will put these species in danger of being wiped out across large parts of the UK", said Graham Madge of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

Michael McCarthy, The Independent, 19 August 2011…