APRIL 5, 2012: The number of starlings seen in people’s gardens has fallen by almost four-fifths since 1979, the RSPB has said.

This year’s survey of garden birds by members of the public revealed an average of just over three starlings per garden, compared to 15 in 1979, a fall of 79%, the charity said. Although the species was the number two ‘most spotted’ bird, it was seen in fewer than half of UK gardens. The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) confirmed that starlings were “a conservation concern”. The average number of wood pigeons in gardens increased from zero to two, and there was an average of one collared dove per garden, while there were none in most gardens in 1979. The RSPB confirmed that almost 600,000 people took part in the survey – more than ever before.

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