Big Drops in Insect and Bird Numbers


Big drops in insect and bird numbers have been reported.


A survey by Kent Wildlife Trust and Buglife shows a 60% decline in flying insects between 2004 and 2021.

This was a citizen science project, and people taking part used ‘splatometer grids‘ on their car number plates. They then submitted photos and splat counts via the Bugs Matter app.

‘This vital study suggests that the number of flying insects is declining by an average of 34% per decade, this is terrifying. We cannot put off action any longer, for the health and wellbeing of future genrations this demands a political and a societal response, it is essential that we halt biodiversity decline – now.’

Matt Shardlow, Chief Executive of Buglife

The declines broke down between the different countries in Britain as follows:

  • England -65%
  • Wales -55%
  • Scotland -28%

The likely causes of the declines include habitat fragmentation, climate change, pesticides and light pollution. Creating larger areas of habitat and wildlife corridors through the landscape could help reverse the drop in abundance.


Meanwhile a review led by Alexander Lees of Manchester Metropolitan University found big declines in bird populations worldwide. The review was based on global data collated by Birdlife International.

The figures are as follows:

  • 48% of bird species are declining
  • 39% are stable
  • 6% are increasing
  • 7% unknown

Bird populations in the US and Canada have fallen by 3 billion since 1970. Causes include eating pesticides, and hunting by domestic cats.

Europe has lost 600 million birds since 1980. Farmland species are down by 57%.

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