WILDLIFE experts have expressed concern about the dramatic decline in numbers of birds in Lancashire.

New figures show that the number of house sparrows in the region has fallen by 50 per cent while starlings have declined by 30 per cent and the song thrush by 55 per cent, in the past two decades.

The figures from The Wildlife Trust of Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside come on the back of a report called ‘State of the UK's Birds 2012’ carried out by the RSPB which showed that nationally the bird population in the UK had declined by 44 million since 1966.

Alan Wright, spokesman for The Wildlife Trust of Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside, said: “There have certainly been declines in populations of most birds in the past 30 years.

“A lot of this is down to removal of hedgerows from farmland and the use of chemical pesticides.

“In gardens, cats have proved to be a major threat to many birds.

“In Lancashire, numbers of many species have plummeted but in particular it is noticeable that we have fewer sparrows and starlings in gardens.

“And out on the moors there are definitely fewer skylarks, thrushes, meadow and tree pipits, twites and yellowhammers.

“Birds of prey numbers are starting to improve but it is nothing compared to the numbers they have lost.

“In some cases, smaller bird numbers have dived by as much as 90 per cent since the end of the Second World War.”

Lancashire Telegraph wildlife expert Ron Freethy said: “The numbers of house sparrows and starlings in East Lancashire, like the rest of the country, have been declining.

“If it continues, it will be worrying.

“However, these things tend to go in trends – the records only date back to the 1950s so it’s difficult to say whether if the numbers will start to increase again in a few years.”

Bird populations

  • Blue tit 3,600,000
  • Great tit 2,600,000
  • Swallow 860,000
  • House martin 510,000
  • Wren 8,600,000
  • Starling 1,900,000
  • Blackbird 5,100,000
  • Song thrush 1,200,000
  • Robin 6,700,000
  • House sparrow 5,300,000