Status of Wild Bird PopulationsR,13: 1975-2011
Index (1994 = 100)
Bird populations are relatively well studied and can provide an indication of the state of biodiversity in Scotland's habitats.
The number of wintering waterbirds rose between the mid 1980s and mid 1990s, reaching a peak in 1996. Since then there has been a steady decline, with the abundance falling 25% between 1996 and 2010. Seabird abundance was in decline between 1991 and 2005, but stabilised until 2010. However, a sharp fall in 2011, resulted in the abundance of seabirds being 57% lower than the 1991 peak. The abundance of terrestrial breeding birds has shown a long term increase of 11% between 1994 and 2011; however, between 2008 and 2011 the abundance of terrestrial breeding birds decreased by 14%.
Naturally occurring birds and their habitats are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004 and the EC Birds Directive (79/409/EEC and amendments). Actions to protect and enhance bird populations and habitats are coordinated under the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy.
The Scottish Government has established a National Indicator to increase the index of abundance of terrestrial breeding birds in Scotland against a 1994 base year. This is used as a proxy measure of biodiversity, as biodiversity cannot be measured by a single indicator.
Email: Callum Neil
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