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Tony Helps Our Birds Survive the Winter

As the nights start drawing in and the temperatures plummet, winter can be a difficult time for wildlife, when food becomes difficult to find. Insect-eating birds turn to alternative foods, some species travel far and wide, and foraging behaviour adapts. Service & Spares Support Technician Tony Cottriall is lending a helping hand by providing a welcome source of extra food for birds to turn to in the leaner time ahead. Tony recently re-furbished the bird feeding station located at the rear of the Golborne factory with clean bird feeders and an ample supply of mealworms, fat balls, various seeds and fresh drinking water. Tony’s innovative use of a recycled cable reel makes an ideal heavy base for the feeder poles.

Recent media reports have highlighted that there has been a serious, countrywide, decline in the numbers of many birds, including many well known and loved species such as the song thrush, skylark, lapwing and house sparrow. Most of the declining species are farmland birds. On the other hand, most woodland species such as the blue tit, nuthatch and great spotted woodpecker are still doing alright.

Extensive research has shown that these declines are caused primarily by changes in agriculture, these include increased efficiency which has led to grubbing up of hedgerows to create larger fields, and ploughing up closer to the edge of the field to increase the planted area. Changes in cropping practices have also had an impact, as soon as one crop is harvested, next one goes in – the land has no time to rest and lie fallow. Other causes are believed to be the increase in the use of farm chemicals – fertilisers and pesticides, and replacing old buildings with modern ones which excludes nesting birds and bats.

The Common Bird Census between 1970 and 1999 puts the Tree Sparrow at the top of the list with a 95 per cent decline.

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