Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Abundance of Scottish Terrestrial Breeding Birds

Photo: Patrick Laurie
Reprinted from a Statistical News Release circulated by SNH.

Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) has today released the latest figures tracking the abundance of Scotland’s terrestrial breeding birds 1994 - 2011.

Over the long term, the abundance of terrestrial breeding birds increased by 11% from 1994 to 2011 (using the smoothed indices – see note 2). Farmland and woodland birds have increased (by 12% and 44% respectively) and upland birds have decreased by 11%.

Between 2010 and 2011, the main findings show that the abundance of all-species, woodland, and farmland terrestrial breeding birds were unchanged overall. However, the upland bird index decreased by 8%. The reasons for changes are not known for certain. Some evidence points towards land use changes as a possible cause. The recent harsh winters in 2009 and 2010 may have also had an effect on some of our resident birds such as wrens and robins.

Notes for editors
1. The full statistical publication can be accessed at:
2. Smoothed indices are a statistical way of removing the year to year fluctuations that naturally appear, for example because of weather conditions or sampling
variations, to allow the underlying trend to be more easily seen.
3. The data used in the report primarily come from the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO), Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) and Royal Society for the
Protection of Birds (RSPB) Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) ( )
4. Official statistics are produced by professionally independent statistical staff in accordance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.
5. Scottish Natural Heritage is the government's adviser on all aspects of nature and landscape across Scotland. Our role is to help everyone understand, value and
enjoy Scotland's nature now and in the future. For more information, visit our website at SNH media is also now on Twitter
6. Trend notes can be found at

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