The results of the 2018 Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) report indicate that the 'Beast from the East' and Saharan winds may have had a big impact on both resident and migrant birds.

Unsurprisingly, the snow and ice that came with the 'Beast' in early March appears have affected some of our smallest birds. 

Goldcrest saw a population decline of 38 per cent and Eurasian Wren and Long-tailed Tit were both down by 21 per cent and 22 per cent respectively in comparison with 2017 figures. It looks as though the very cold spell also hit Common Kingfisher; the 2018 breeding population was down by 38 per cent on the previous year.

long tailed tit

Later in the year, during spring migration, the Sahara experienced strong northerly winds, seemingly hampering northward return journeys and many were late back or arrived in lower numbers. House Martin was down by 17 per cent, Sand Martin down 42 per cent and Common Swift down by 20 per cent during the 2018 breeding season surveys. Also, Common Whitethroat and Willow Warbler were down too, by 18 and 23 per cent respectively. 

Sarah Harris, Breeding Bird Survey Organiser at BTO, said: "It is thanks to the thousands of volunteers who give up their time to count birds for the survey that we are able to follow the ups and downs of our breeding birds so closely. While things didn't look great for some of our smaller birds in 2018 they do have the capacity to bounce back quickly from short-term declines and I can't wait to see the 2019 results. Thank you to all who take part."

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