At the risk of starting the whole "BTO good/dumbing down bad" blog debate from over the weekend again, here's some sobering gen from that august body, e-mailed to me by Sandra Sparkes...
Ta Sandra, although I was wondering, in future why not use the word "boffins" instead of "scientists"?
Great word is "boffins"...sorry, best get on...
ROBINS RUE A SOGGY SUMMER
Scientists from the British Trust for Ornithology have highlighted the effect a second wet summer in a row has had on one of our favourite birds.
Dr Rob Robinson, Principal Ecologist, reports that the Robin had its worst breeding season since the Trust began collecting records in 1983.
The Robin suffered during 2008's cool wet summer, with the number of young birds recorded down by 22% on normal, meaning almost a quarter of all young Robins were lost.
The Robin wasn't alone in this; Great Tit and Garden Warbler also experienced their worst breeding season, with productivity down by 35% and 34% respectively on normal. Song Thrushes and Blackbirds (at 35% and 32%) fared badly too, but it was not their worst ever year.
The timing of the wet weather was crucial.
Nationally, the 2008 breeding season was wettest towards the end, during July and August, affecting those birds that have later broods.
Worryingly, this followed a very wet summer in 2007.
It wasn't all doom and gloom.
Two species that breed early in the season posted healthy rises in breeding populations, with Chiffchaff numbers 22% above average and Long-tailed Tit 16% above normal.
Both these species nest earlier in the season and managed to miss the worst of the weather.
Twelve species suffered as a result of the weather.
See list below.
Reduced Productivity in 2008
Song Thrush -35%
Sedge Warbler -15%
Garden Warbler -34%
Willow Tit -21%
Blue Tit -25%
Great Tit -35%
Rob Robinson, Principal Ecologist at the BTO said: "Birds are used to coping with one or two wet summers, but several in a row can cause real problems. Bird ringers will be going out to monitor birds again this summer and are hoping for a more normal year, particularly following this winter's cold snaps."
Eyes to the skies everyone, eyes to the skies...