Sparrows and starlings given greater protection
Appeared on Space For Nature on October 18th 2004
From January 1st 2005 it will be illegal to kill both sparrows and starlings: birds which at the moment can be killed if they are thought to be damaging property or spreading disease.
The 1979 EU birds directive made the killing of any wild bird an offence, but 13 species were excepted under the 'general license' in order to safeguard crops and public health. Both starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) and house sparrows (Passer domesticus) are among these 13 species, but after a review, the government has decided to remove both species from the start of next year. This means it will now be an offence to kill either sparrows or starlings.
Two years ago, both of these species were added to the 'red list' of birds of conservation concern because of dramatic declines in their populations over recent decades. Although killing either species by humans is not thought to be a factor in their decline, their removal from the general license does indicate the seriousness with which their declines are considered at governmental level.
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