Scotland’s Woodland Bird Populations Up 68% Since 1994

Female blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla). ©Lorne Gill
Female blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla).
©Lorne Gill

This was the headline finding from the Scottish Natural Heritage [SNH] report published today, following dedicated long-term data collection primarily by volunteers with the British Trust for Ornithology [BTO] and Joint Nature Conservation Committee [JNCC] Breeding Bird Survey.  Farmland bird numbers were also found to have risen substantially, whereas upland and wader species have seen considerable declines.  Woodland birds with the greatest proliferations include the Great Spotted Woodpecker – up 530% – and the Chiffchaff, up an incredible 752%.

Willow Warblers and Tree Pipits have also experienced an apparent resurgence, with increases since 1994 of 46% and 86% respectively. The feeding of birds in gardens during winter is one driver of these success stories; with species such as Blackcap and Goldfinch booming across multiple habitats as a result.  Improvements in forest management and the condition of wintering grounds is also thought to have played its part in restoring some populations.

The report follows further positive ornithological news recently, such as the revival of the threatened Cirl Bunting in southern England and expansion of the Golden Eagle population in Scotland; which now amounts to at least 508 breeding pairs.

The full SNH report can be found here.



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