First published in 1996, with only 36 species listed, Birds of Conservation Concern is compiled by a coalition of the UK’s leading bird conservation and monitoring organisations and reviews the status of all regularly occurring birds in the UK, Channel Islands and Isle of Man.
The review divides species into three main categories: the red list for those species of the highest conservation priority and needing urgent action, the amber list for the next most critical species and the green list for the least critical group.
Soberingly, the 5th and latest edition of Birds of Conservation Concern published in December 2021, has identified that more than one in four of our UK birds now feature on the red list.
The red list now highlights 70 species in total including waders such as curlews and lapwings, skylarks, swifts, puffins, starlings and even house sparrows.
There have been some success stories; the white-tailed eagle, song thrush, redwing, pied flycatcher, black redstart and grey wagtail have all previously featured on the red list and have now moved to the amber list, thanks to less severe declines and conservation efforts.
The results of the report will be used by the various partners in the UK to identify and prioritise which species need additional research and support to help to improve their fortunes
A lot of the data used to understand how UK bird species are faring is provided by volunteers. If you would like to get involved, you can take part in the Big Garden Birdwatch taking place between 28th and 30th January, or for farmers and landowners there is the 2022 Big Farmland Bird Count which will be taking place between 4th and 20th February.
It’s easy and free to get involved and the more people who take part, the more information there is, providing researchers and scientists with a crucial insight into which bird species are thriving and which are struggling.
To find out more visit:
Big Garden Birdwatch – www.rspb.org.uk/get-involved/activities/birdwatch/
Big Farmland Bird Count – www.bfbc.org.uk/