The IUCN, or International Union for the Conservation of Nature, has been assessing the conservation status of species on a global scale for the last 50 years. Through the IUCN Red List, this has highlighted taxa threatened by extinction and promoted their conservation.
In a press release issued last Thursday (29th October), it was revealed that turtle dove, along with puffin, has been added to the IUCN Red List of species facing the risk of global extinction. Joining them is the lapwing, much loved by farmers and conservationists alike, which has been moved to Vulnerable. For birds that were once so ubiquitous in the English countryside, the re-classification of these two species confirms the need for effective on-farm targeted conservation management.
Turtle dove has now been added to the IUCN Red List of species facing the risk of global extinction
On a slightly more positive note, also released last Thursday were the most recent statistics for wild birds in England and the UK, including the Farmland Bird Indicator (FBI), which shows a 2% increase. The FBI is a combined trend for 19 species that can be found in farmland habitats. Both turtle dove and lapwing are included within the FBI, so the overall increase will include some species that are still declining as well as those that are doing better.
Population trends of farmland birds in the UK: Source: RSPB, BTO, JNCC, Defra
Although it is good to report an increase in the stats, it will be interesting to see what happens over the next few years. Closer to home, we also have the SDFBI Bird Monitoring Project, which will allow us to see how certain species are faring in a local context. Ideally, we need slight increases every year, which will ultimately indicate farmland bird recovery.