Diversity Of Islands’ Birds Highlighted In Report

A sisken being ringed by a volunteer

A sisken being ringed by a volunteer

A survey of land-based birds in Scilly has highlighted the diversity of species that make their home here.

The census of birds, carried out by the Wildlife Trust between May and July 2012, shows that 54 species where confirmed as either breeding or holding territories on the islands.

The majority of birds recorded were typical woodland dwellers with the five commonest species being wren, linnet, blackbird, dunnock and song thrush.

A number of heathland and open ground breeding species were also seen including meadow pipit and stonechat.

St Mary’s had the greatest number of species, probably due to the wide range of habitats available on that island.

Four cuckoo chicks, which are becoming increasingly rare on the mainland, were counted on St Mary’s. The siskin was also confirmed as a breeding species in Scilly for the first time.

However, poor weather conditions over recent years are thought to have affected breeding numbers.

And the report says that birds nesting in Scilly rear fewer chicks than their mainland counterparts. This is thought to reflect a more limited food supply.

The report warns that there is a need for better understanding of the plant and invertebrate communities, which the birds feed on, across the islands.

The Trust also wants to measure the impact of land management activities, including grazing, on our bird populations.