Birdlife in Europe under threat

Germany and Europe overall have seen a dramatic drop in bird populations since 1990, largely due to farming practices, according to new government figures.

A government response to a Green party enquiry seen by DPA last week reveals that certain bird populations have been reduced by at least 80 per cent since 1990.

The number of lapwings fell by 80 per cent between 1990 and 2013, according to the figures. The number of partridges dropped by 84 per cent between 1990 and 2015.

The whinchat population also fell by 63 per cent, black-tailed godwits by 61 per cent, and skylarks by 35 per cent.

One-third of all bird types in Germany have had “significant population reductions” since the end of the 1990s.

The declines are not only a German phenomenon but are also happening across Europe. Within the EU, the number of breeding pairs of birds in agricultural areas plummeted by 300 million between 1980 and 2010 – a decrease of 57 per cent.

There are many reasons for the dwindling bird populations including, most importantly, the loss of habitats and the declining number of insects. Some types of insects have registered population drops of 90 per cent. The government said that herbicides and pesticides are a ‘relevant influencing factor’ in this, according to studies.

“The situation for birds is dramatic,” said Green party politician Steffi Lemke. “It threatens to create a silent springtime.”

Lemke blamed the federal government for doing too little to combat the use of toxins and one-crop farming in agriculture.

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