CASTLES, public buildings and sports venues across Scotland are to come alive with birdsong in a call for action to save threatened wildlife and the environment and prevent climate change.

The RSPB is bringing the sound of birds singing to an estimated five million people across the country on Thursday to raise awareness of falls in the country's bird populations and what the UK stands to lose if the declines continue.

It comes a matter of days after it emerged that the number of corncrakes one of Scotland's rarest birds remains "alarmingly low" and "vulnerable".

Corncrakes migrate from Africa to breed on islands including Tiree, Lewis, Harris, Orkney and parts of Argyll and the north west Highlands.

RSPB Scotland said 870 males were recorded this summer in the core breeding areas. The figure was down from 897 in 2018.


In the last five years since 2014, when a high of 1,282 calling males were recorded, Scotland's corncrake population has decreased by more than 30%.

Also at risk is the hen harrier which is said to be heading to the brink of extinction. In 2017, it emerged numbers fell by nine per cent in Scotland since 2010 and the total population was estimated to be less than 500 breeding pairs.

After scoring a surprise top 20 music hit with a track of birdsong Let Nature Sing in the summer, the RSPB has teamed up with partners to bring the sound of birds to more than 5,000 locations across the UK - including hundreds across Scotland.

A 13 minute version of the birdsong hit will play at venues including the Edinburgh, Stirling, Blair and Glamis castles; Murrayfield and Hampden Park stadiums and V&A Dundee.

Other birdsong locations include all Co-op and Cotswold stores, Iona Abbey, Orkney Library, The Enchanted Forest and Edinburgh Waverley station.

RSPB Scotland said most venues will be playing the track at around midday for 15 minutes, though some are also playing it at other points throughout the day as well.

READ MORE: Scotland’s wildlife in crisis as species set ‘to vanish’

This chorus will be added to with community organised events where people will come together to listen to birdsong with their friends and family and enjoy the relaxing sounds of our nature.

New research from the RSPB revealed that people in Scotland felt addressing climate change and the environment was one of the most important issues for today’s politicians looking to secure the long-term legacy of their Government.

When respondents were asked to choose the top three issues, across all adults surveyed in Scotland, climate change and the environment (42%) polled ahead of our future relationship with the EU (37%) as a long-term legacy issue for politicians to address, coming second just behind health (45%).

And more people are waking up to the crisis facing nature.

When asked how they would describe the health of nature in the UK, almost six out of ten (57%) of respondents from Scotland felt nature was not doing well or in crisis in the UK, with less than a third (27%) believing nature was doing well or thriving.


RSPB Scotland said the statistics highlight the growing public understanding of the crisis facing nature.

Anne McCall, RSPB Scotland director, said: “In spring, our Let Nature Sing track of pure birdsong encouraged the public to reflect on what birdsong means to them and highlighted the shocking declines we have seen over the last few decades.

"Since then we have seen further international, UK and Scottish reports underlining the threats to our natural world.

"Accompanying this compelling evidence base we have also seen increasingly passionate calls from the public to do more for our environment. It is clear that we must take action now to address both the climate and biodiversity emergencies.”

Rebecca Munro, the RSPB's director of communications, said: "We all need birdsong in our daily life, but our natural world is in crisis, our wildlife is falling silent."

She said recent international reports delivered concerning findings on the state of the natural world and impacts of climate change, while the most recent "state of nature" report revealed half the UK's bird species are at risk.

The report found that one in 10 species face disappearing from Scotland, with seabird populations suffering substantial declines over the last 30 years.

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In a monitoring period running from 1986 to the most recent estimate in 2016 – the average numbers of 12 species of breeding seabirds have dropped by 38%.

"When looking at the evidence it is no surprise to see that more people recognise that something is not right with our natural world, and that the public feel strongly that addressing climate change and the environment should be a top issue for today's politicians looking to create a legacy future generations will be proud of," she said.