British songbirds suffered from wet summer

This video says about itself:

Robin (Erithacus rubecula) calling singing ~ Canon S5 IS ~ Telephoto lens zoom maximium x18 or 600mm equivelent 35mmm camera lens on the top of my Garden Bird feeder tree.

From Wildlife Extra:

Robins have worst breeding year on record in UK

27/01/2009 15:04:44

January 2009. Scientists from the British Trust for Ornithology have highlighted the effect a second wet summer in a row has had on one of our favourite birds. Dr Rob Robinson, Principal Ecologist, reports that the Robin had its worst breeding season since the Trust began collecting records in 1983.

22% decline in juveniles

The Robin, arguably Britain’s favourite bird, suffered during 2008’s cool wet summer, with the number of young birds recorded down by 22% on normal, meaning almost a quarter of all young Robins were lost. The Robin wasn’t alone in this; Great Tit and Garden Warbler also experienced their worst breeding season, with productivity down by 35% and 34% respectively on normal. Song Thrushes and Blackbirds (at 35% and 32%) fared badly too, but it was not their worst ever year.

Twelve species suffered as a result of the weather.

Reduced Productivity in 2008

Dunnock -21%

Robin -22%

Blackbird -32%

Song Thrush -35%

Sedge Warbler -15%

Whitethroat [see also here] -18%

Garden Warbler -34%

Blackcap -24%

Willow Tit -21%

Blue Tit -25%

Great Tit -35%

Chaffinch -27%

Chiffchaff and Long-tailed tit numbers up

The timing of the wet weather was crucial. Nationally, the 2008 breeding season was wettest towards the end, during July and August, affecting those birds that have later broods. Worryingly, this followed a very wet summer in 2007. It wasn’t all doom and gloom. Two species that breed early in the season posted healthy rises in breeding populations, with Chiffchaff numbers 22% above average and Long-tailed Tit 16% above normal. Both these species nest earlier in the season and managed to miss the worst of the weather.

Rob Robinson, Principal Ecologist at the BTO said, “Birds are used to coping with one or two wet summers, but several in a row can cause real problems. Bird ringers will be going out to monitor birds again this summer and are hoping for a more normal year, particularly following this winter’s cold snaps.”

Last weekend more than three million Big Garden Birdwatch hours were clocked up as the RSPB (BirdLife in the UK) marked 30 years of the event: here.

Willow Tits and Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers have officially become so scarce in the UK that their numbers will be monitored by a special panel of experts: here.

Eastern North American songbirds have evolved to meet the challenges of deforestation and regrowth: here.

1 thought on “British songbirds suffered from wet summer

  1. Pingback: First chiffchaff song of spring | Dear Kitty. Some blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.