French bird species face ‘unrelenting’ decline

3 June, 2021 12:00 AM printer

French bird species face ‘unrelenting’ decline

From city centres to rural fields, human activity has decimated populations of France’s most common bird species, scientists warned on Monday, citing data collected over 30 years by volunteer ornithologists, reports AFP.

Between 1989 and 2019 over 2,000 French bird lovers participated in monitoring the nation’s 123 most common bird species through the Tracking Common Birds Over Time (STOC) program.

The effort is sponsored by the French National Museum of Natural History, whose president Bruno David called the findings “unrelenting”. Over a third of common French bird species are in decline, including the European goldfinch, the European turtle dove, the common house martin and 40 others, the museum reported.

The sharpest drops in populations were on farmlands, where numbers dropped 30 percent in 30 years, followed by urban areas, which saw declines of about 28 percent.

Forest birds have fared somewhat better, with their numbers falling by 10 percent over the last three decades.

Conservation biologist Benoit Fontaine, a researcher at the National Museum, in a press conference Monday described the loss of birds in agricultural territories as a “massacre”.