Britain’s Waders facing extinction

As many know by now one of Britain’s most loved seabirds have made themselves at home on the Critically endangered list. But, let’s not forget the near-threatened list which has 14 UK birds on it, 7 of which are waders! Lapwings or Peewits were once a common site throughout Britain but with the lack of suitable habitat around now and the colourful look of their eggs made them ideal for egg-collectors. Oystercatcher which are considered a common site around the coasts in Britain these days, all you have to do is scan the coast and you can guarantee a group of Oystercatcher will be around, but this species have declined in recent years dramatically, 40% over three generations and there is a severe lack of breeding going on it Britain. Numbers of Eurasian Curlew have been declining in recent years but that is down to the lack of habitat for them to breed on, Ringing Projects done by the BTO volunteers are carrying out colour ringing on this species to see how to species disperses or locates a breeding group.

“Curlew have fallen by 17% and oystercatchers by 15% in the 10 years to June 2012. Knot have dropped by 7% and the bar-tailed godwit by 10%. Grey plover are down by 21%, according to the data collected by thousands of volunteers.” – Wetlands Bird Survey

One of Britain’s most beloved waders with that classic back-end bob and its robotic flight is the Woodcock. This species is undergoing a massive decline, in the 2013 Woodcock Survey shows that the breeding range and numbers have declined massively since the last survey in 2003.  Woodcocks are currently ‘amber-listed’ as a species of conservation concern as a result to declines in Europe and Russia. In 2013, the counts were done during May-June at 834 randomly selected British sites, the estimate was 55,241 males representing a 29% decline since 2003!

“The percentage of wooded survey squares occupied by Woodcock decreased from 47% in 2003 to 37% in 2013.  Annual counts from occupied sites monitored between 2003 and 2013 also indicate a decrease in abundance of 40% during the 10 year period.” – BTO

Woodcocks are frequently shot in the UK in the hunting season along with Golden Plover and Snipe, this may have an effect on the population of Woodcock since they often chose to visit grasslands mainly fields or woods during the night.

Charities and Organisations such as Wader Quest are battling to defend and protect Wader species across the world. This Saturday and Sunday (7&8th Nov) it’s the public’s chance to get involved and help survey these species, over the weekend it’s the Wader Watch, all you have to do is visit an area of land where you are likely to see waders and count the species and the number of each species and send it to waderquest@gmail.com to help conserve Waders across the world. Another organisation that aims to protect British birds is the BTO, this organisation has major respect off ornithologists and aims to conserve birds including waders through surveys, science and research. Over December and January the NEWS (Non-Estuary Waterbird Survey) are being carried out by volunteers, all you have to do is click on a site you wish to survey and for one day in January survey that area and upload your data to the BTO website. This provides major data to protect these birds and with the number of British Waders in decline, every help is needed.

   Wader Quest

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Wildlife Enthusiast, Naturalist and Conservationist from Swansea, Wales. Keen interest in the avian kind, bats and reptiles, mainly have a huge love for Owls! Particular interest in scientific data mainly through Nest Recording, Bird Ringing and Surveying. Campaigner for Britain's Wildlife. www.danrouse.org,uk

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