Europe-Africa: Action call to help migratory birds

(UKPA) Google News 21 Nov 11;

Conservationists are calling for international action to save migratory birds including the nightingale, cuckoo and turtle dove which have seen numbers plummet in the UK.

Summer visitors to Britain's shores include the turtle dove, whose numbers have fallen by 70% since 1995, the wood warbler, which is down by 61% and the nightingale and yellow wagtail whose numbers have more than halved.

These species travel between Europe and Africa, and wildlife experts warn the only way to address the various threats they face is through co-ordinated international action.

The RSPB says the birds are being threatened by changes to their habitats both in Africa and Europe and by hazards on their migration routes such as illegal shooting of the species as they pass over the Mediterranean.

At a conference on conserving migratory species of wild animals in Bergen, Norway, this week the RSPB, Birdlife International and its partners from other European and African countries will be lobbying for action on the declining bird species.

Dr Danae Sheehan, of the RSPB, said: "Migrant birds connect Europe and Africa, crossing our borders, cultures and lives.

"Millions of birds make this incredible long-distance journey twice each year in spring and autumn.

"But each year the numbers spanning the two continents are reducing rapidly.

"With dramatic land use change in both Europe and Africa, and hazards on migration such as illegal killing in the Mediterranean, these birds have enormous struggles ahead.

"Without international co-operation, we're concerned that these species will continue their downward path."