The Swiss bird world has changed a lot in 100 years
Great gray shrike, gray partridge and woodchat shrike: 100 years ago, the bird world in Switzerland looked very different, according to a new report by the bird protection organization Birdlife. Many species are now endangered or extinct. Others settled in Switzerland.
Published: 14 minutes ago
“Most people are not even aware of how dramatically bad things are for the birds these days,” Beat Wartmann, author of the report, was quoted as saying in a Birdlife statement on Wednesday. Because the changes happen insidiously and slowly, according to Wartmann, people keep getting used to the new situation. “No one can remember that time anymore.”
For the report, he combed through hundreds of old index cards and analyzed antique books and other sources. Lapwing, curlew, snipe and redshank as well as spotted crake, little crake and little crake bred in the Linth plain and other wet areas 100 years ago. Of these species, only the lapwing remains as a breeding bird.
Species such as the partridge, corn bunting, tree pipit, gray shrike and whinchat were common on the Swiss Plateau. The species are now almost or completely extinct in the Swiss Plateau, partridge and gray shrike are even extinct throughout Switzerland. At that time, woodchat shrike, redstart, wryneck and little owl still bred in the orchards around the settlements. The former is now extinct in Switzerland, the others are considered endangered.
According to the report, a total of 60 percent of the birds are now on the Swiss Red List or early warning list. The reasons for this are the “cultivation battle” after the Second World War and the canalization of many streams and rivers.
According to the report, a few new species have been able to settle in Switzerland in the last 100 years – or at least make up ground. In the vast majority of cases, these are cultural followers or particularly adaptable species such as collared pigeons, alpine swifts or rooks. Also, due to better hunting laws, several species of herons and birds of prey that had previously been severely persecuted have recovered.
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