RSPB's Birdwatch suggests nature has moved up our priorities during Covid lockdown. But will it last? – Scotsman comment
As the roar of the traffic fell silent, some urban dwellers began to notice the beauty of birdsong, the wind in the trees and other bucolic delights about which to wax lyrical.
Cynics may have doubted just how big a phenomenon this truly was, but they will perhaps need to change their tune now that we have a hard number to crunch, firm evidence of what could be a significant change in attitudes.
For it has been revealed that more than a million people took part in the RSPB’s Big Garden Birdwatch on the last weekend in January – about double the number who did so in 2020. The charity’s chief executive Beccy Speight said it was “blown away” by the level of public enthusiasm.
However, those cynics may suggest a lack of other things to do could well have contributed to the increased numbers, so perhaps the acid test will be next year’s Birdwatch.
Will we forget our interest in species like the song thrush, which has seen a 78 per cent decline in numbers over the past four decades, or the house sparrow, down 58 per cent over the same period? Of the top 20 most spotted birds in the people-powered survey, only four species saw an increase in numbers.
As Speight said, the lockdown “has either started or reignited a love of nature for many people”. For the sake of our wonderful wildlife, may it long continue.
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