Starlings are disappearing in Greater Manchester

01 Mar 2015 | No. 2015-10

Since 1980, Starling numbers have significantly and consistently declined in Greater Manchester and the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) Garden BirdWatch needs the public to help.

Greater Manchester’s Starling population has halved over the last thirty-five years, but the exact causes of the declines are still not fully understood.  Current research suggests that a decreased juvenile survival rate is one of the key drivers, with intensification of agriculture also thought to be having a negative impact on Starlings’ foraging opportunities, and so gardens may become increasingly important for them.

In 2014, only 40% of Garden BirdWatch gardens in Greater Manchester recorded Starlings compared to 1995, when Starlings were recorded in over 80% of gardens – a trend that has been seen across the north-west of England.

Without people who record the birds in their garden we might otherwise miss the Starling slipping away.

Clare Simm, of the BTO Garden BirdWatch team commented: "BTO Garden BirdWatch is the world’s largest year-round survey of garden birds, having run every week since 1995. Anyone who enjoys watching the highs and lows of their garden birds is welcome to get involved in this simple survey, and your sightings can contribute to our knowledge of how birds like Starlings are faring."

She added:  "If you spend a few minutes each week watching what birds get up to in your garden, then you are already doing enough to take part in the BTO Garden BirdWatch. Get in touch with us for a free magazine and information pack on how to take part."

For a free BTO Garden BirdWatch information pack, which includes a copy of our quarterly magazine, please contact gbw [at]  telephone 01842 750050, or write to Garden BirdWatch, BTO, The Nunnery, Thetford, Norfolk, IP24 2PU.

Notes for Editors

  1. The BTO Garden BirdWatch is the only nationwide survey of garden birds to run weekly throughout the year, providing important information on how birds use gardens, and how this use changes over time. Currently, some 14,500 people take part in the project. The project is funded by participants’ contributions and is the largest year-round survey of garden birds in the world. For more information see
  2. Starlings have been declining throughout the UK since 1980. You can see more detail about the decline here
  3. The BTO is the UK's leading bird research charity. A growing membership and up to 60,000 volunteer birdwatchers contribute to the BTO's surveys, collecting information that underpins conservation action in the UK. The BTO maintains a staff of 100 at its offices in Thetford, Stirling, Bangor (Wales) and Bangor (Northern Ireland), who analyse and publicise the results of surveys and projects. The BTO's work is funded by BTO supporters, government, trusts, industry and conservation

Contact Details

Clare Simm
(BTO Garden BirdWatch Development Officer)

Office: 01842 750050
(9am to 5.30pm)
Email: clare.simm [at]

Paul Stancliffe
(BTO Media Manager)

Office: 01842 750050
(9am to 5.30pm)
Mobile: 07585 440910 (anytime)
Email: press [at]

Images are available for use alongside this News Release.
Please contact images [at] quoting reference 2015-10

The BTO has an ISDN line available for radio interviews.
Please contact us to book an interview
Office: 01842 750050

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