January 11 2012

Saving songbirds
Many of our songbirds, from blue tits in gardens to meadow pipits in the uplands, are very productive Sir, The research undertaken by Reading University for Songbird Survival in 2010 concluded that because of the use of insufficient census data, there was no clear conclusion on the impact of predation on bird populations (letter, Jan 10). Another project is now under way as to what impact the removal of corvids, magpies and carrion crows might have on farmland bird productivity. Many of our songbirds, from blue tits in gardens to meadow pipits in the uplands, are very productive and as such are the staple “larder food” for various predators (letter, Dec 27) such as stoats, raptors, foxes and crows, and I doubt that their numbers would have doubled if there wasn’t enough food available. As with many cyclical, complex ecosystems interwoven within unavoidable human influence, there is no one simple answer at any given time. However, we must not shy away from acting on robust, peer-reviewed science if it demonstrates a need to intervene to conserve the breeding ability of a threatened species. Rob Yorke Abergavenny, Monmouthshire

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