In French gardens, almost half of bird species observed in spring are in decline

The League for the Protection of Birds and the National Museum of Natural History have drawn up one of the most important programs of participatory sciences for consumer public.

by Perrine Mourte

Less and fewer black hikes, blue chickadees or peonies in May, and more and more collar parakeets, choucas of towers or ramy pigeons in January. In the past ten years, since 2012, 41 % of bird species observed in French gardens in the spring have seen their workforce decrease, while half of them have seen their populations increase in winter.

These are the contrasting results of ten years of follow -up of the birds of the gardens, presented, Tuesday, January 24, by the League for the Protection of Birds (LPO) and the National Museum of Natural History (MNHN). A assessment which confirms the strong decline of common birds, but also testifies to the lively success of the participatory science program at the origin of these data.

“There is a very strong increase in the presence of birds in winter, in particular migratory species, but it is indeed in the spring, at the time of nesting, that we count the birds of France. And there, it is a massacre, underlined Allain Bougrain-Dubourg, the president of the LPO. We have managed to save emblematic species such as white storks, pilgrim hawks or fawn vultures in recent decades. Proximity birds, these are our lifestyles that must be changed. “

rigorous protocol

Each year, during the last weekends in January and May, everyone is invited to identify, for an hour, the birds that arise in the chosen garden, then to transmit their observations. “We can participate everywhere, in town, in the countryside or in a public garden, and it is even open to novices, describes Marjorie Poitevin, head of the Observatory birds of the gardens as well as participatory sciences, at the LPO. Departure, people doubt their abilities, but they quickly get into the game. “Parties put online help to recognize the most common fifty birds.

In 2012, 3,000 people mobilized for the first edition. Ten years later, they are ten times more numerous, after a peak in participation in 40,000 people in 2020, the year of confinement linked to the Pandemic of Covid-19. In total, censuses were carried out in nearly 100,000 gardens across France, which made it possible to collect around 6.5 million data. These observations being subject to a rigorous protocol, they could be analyzed scientifically.

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/Media reports cited above.