Joint RSPB/Birdlife International Report Finds Huge Decline in European Bird Numbers

A study by the RSPB and Birdlife International has shown that bird populations across Europe have fallen by about 600 million in the past 40 years.The study found that the main reason for falling bird numbers is food production and farming. The biggest decline was among birds associated with agricultural land and grassland. House sparrows have fallen by 247 million, yellow wagtails by 97 million and skylarks by 68 million.

Several members of the Doncaster Group have been involved in farmland surveys in recent years and have witnessed the changes to the land which have resulted in the decline of species. There are some local farmers who have worked closely with the RSPB to introduce measures to halt the declines whilst still maintaining a viable business and we thank them for that.

Locally, we are witnessing an increase in house building and the loss of land for wildlife. We hope that developers and the local authorities will take into account these problems and include measures in their plans to provide pockets of habitat for wildlife or alternative sites that are currently underdeveloped for nature. Without the work going on in the various nature reserves in our area then locally, the declines would be even greater.

The photo was taken locally of a tree sparrow that is now facing extinction across Europe.

65 Years of volunteering

At the AGM last week Steve Pynegar, the group leader, presented awards to Judith Ostle (in the centre) and Sue Tallents, in recognition of the years of volunteering they have done for the RSPB. In the case of Judith it was 30 years and Sue has done 35 years. It is a testament to their efforts over these years which have taken many forms and we wish them many more years to come.

Emily Williamson Statue

There is a plan for a statue of Emily Williamson, the founder of the Society for the Protection of Birds, which eventually became the RSPB, the UK’s largest conservation charity. It all started with her inviting friends for tea at her home in Didsbury so the statue will be erected in Manchester.

Several versions of the statue have been commissioned and you can vote for your favourite at the web address below. You can also make a donation towards the cost of the statue, if you wish.


Looking and hoping for a brighter future

The group committee is constantly monitoring the changes to government policy with respect to Covid. We have noted the proposed changes coming later in July and, subject to them being confirmed, the committee is planning to meet in late July or early August to plan a way forward that both meets government guidelines and is considered safe for our members, recognising that the RSPB may have a viewpoint on what we can do.

The committee will be planning for a return to normal business from September 2021. We are hoping to produce an annual newsletter in August and the proposed first meeting in September will be a catchup AGM to tidy up group business and there will also probably be a presentation.

From September, we plan to start the collection of group membership subscriptions. The level of subscription may be subject to ratification by the AGM. The committee will also plan a programme of indoor and outdoor events for the period September 2021 – May 2022.

Please note that because of circumstances this may all change but we feel the need to prepare plans to start up our normal business arrangements as soon as possible.

Further reports will be provided on this website.