The RSPB categorises all native birds according to their conservation status, and those on the red list are in most need of help to avoid extinction.
Several species of bird are visiting the country’s gardens in lower numbers than conservationists would like, including starlings, house sparrows and song thrushes. All three have been on the red list for some time, but have now been joined by mistle thrushes. In fact the blackbird is currently the only thrush with relatively safe status, as five out of six British species of thrush have now been placed on the red list, including the fieldfare, the ring ouzel and more crucially of all the redwing – there are only believed to be a few breeding pairs of this bird remaining in the UK.
The RSPB and its members prioritise action according to need and available resources. Sometimes, all that can be done is observation, until the required resources are available. However, the public can certainly do its bit to help.
Within the private gardens of the UK, more suitable habitats for feathered wildlife can be created. Gardeners can add features such as ponds that will attract birds. They can also choose their plants with care, by selecting flowers that are rich in pollen, plus shrubs and trees that produce edible berries. Providing wild bird food can also be beneficial.
Finally, data collection is key, which is why the RSPB urges the public to take part in their Big Garden Birdwatch, which starts this Saturday, January 25 and continues until Monday, January 27..