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18. Birds as Biomonitors

Description

Monitoring of populations of common bird species in the UK began in the early 1960s with the British Trust for Ornithology’s (BTO) government-funded Common Bird Census (CBC). Although it is now clear that many of the now familiar declines in farmland species began in the mid 1970s, the severity of the situation was not realised until much later. The first indications that modern agriculture was to blame came from the Game Conservancy Trust’s long-term studies of grey partridge Perdix perdix. These identified the damage to the bird’s food chain through the indirect effects of herbicides as the primary cause of the decline.

In the late 1980s, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) began research on three species under severe threat of extinction in the UK;corncrake Crex crex, stone curlew Burhinus oedicnemus and cirl bunting Emberiza cirlus.The research programmes identified changes in farming practice as the primary cause of decline for all three formerly widespread species.

This Environmental Studies Factsheet explains:
• Background.
• Disadvantages of biomonitoring.
• Monitoring Data.
• Chick food for farmland birds.

Download Type

.PDF (pdf) 148.479 KB

Date Published

April 2003

ISSN / ISBN

ISSN: 1351-5136

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