Population data for European mountain birds have been for the first time combined in a recent study, with worrying results: the abundances of mountain-specialist birds has declined by as much as 10% in the 2000s. The recently released study examined the population trends of 44 bird species in the 2000s in the mountain and fell regions of Fennoscandia, Great Britain, the Alps and the Iberian Peninsula. A decline was seen in 14 of the observed species.
"On average, population decline among the species studied was 7% over the 13-year research period, making the situation of mountain birds distinctly worse compared to, for example, European forest birds, whose numbers did not change during the same period," explains Aleksi Lehikoinen, an Academy of Finland research fellow at the Finnish Museum of Natural History Luomus (part of the University of Helsinki), who headed the study.
The situation is the direst for species that only inhabit mountain regions and are unable to live in other European environments. For these species, known as mountain specialists, the numbers dwindled by as much as 10% during the monitoring period.
Source: Science Daily, 13 Dec 2018
Journal Reference: Aleksi Lehikoinen et al. Declining population trends of European mountain birds. Global Change Biology, 2018; DOI: 10.1111/gcb.14522