Which birds gained the most from Britain’s lockdown?

Many species seem to have benefitted from the Britain's lockdown during first part of the coronavirus pandemic, but some may have done so more than others.

Little tern in Norfolk, UK. © Mike Powles/Getty

With fewer people out and about this spring, our birds found a quieter, cleaner environment. Species that sing louder beside busy roads, such as great tits and song thrushes could sing more quietly.

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Ground-nesting birds won’t have been flushed by walkers and dogs as often, so their eggs will have been less at risk. The winners are likely to include skylarks, lapwings and curlews on farmland, and beach-nesting species, such as little terns, oystercatchers and ringed plovers.

Some rare birds – raptors especially – will have been more vulnerable to illegal persecution, due to lack of protection by conservation staff, but likewise will have been helped by fewer people wandering near their nests.

In the long term, garden birds will benefit from a boost to monitoring – the BTO’s Garden Birdwatch survey enjoying record participation during lockdown.


Do you have a wildlife question you’d like answered? Email your question to wildquestions@immediate.co.uk or post it to Q&A, BBC Wildlife Magazine, Immediate Media Company, Eagle House, Bristol, BS1 4ST.

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Main image: Little tern in Norfolk, UK. © Mike Powles/Getty