White-tailed eagle Haliaeetus albicilla.

Practicalities - how we can help

How do we help species recover? This depends on the species and the problems it faces.

How we can help

There is a range of options available in the conservation 'toolbox'. The choice of which to use will depend on the habitats occupied by a species, and its geographical distribution. For most, we'll use a combination of techniques.

The conservation toolbox 

Here's a brief overview of the techniques we use:

  • Direct intervention projects – without urgent conservation support, some species could rapidly vanish from key parts of their range, so we may need to set up an urgent, targeted project
  • Land management schemes – for a quarter of our priority species, support from these schemes (such as agri-environment schemes) represents the major, or even the only, route to recovery
  • Reserves acquisition and management – our nature reserves are of huge importance to many birds, and may be the last refuge for some
  • Site protection – a carefully managed network of the best wildlife sites, on land and at sea, protected by legislation, is crucial
  • Advice and advocacy – for widespread species, encouraging appropriate legislation and habitat management is the way forward
  • Translocation – this can be a useful tool in helping species to recover
  • Species protection – for some species, illegal persecution and human disturbance continue to have a serious impact
  • Not yet known – almost a third of our priority species are at the very beginning of their recovery journey, and as yet, we simply don't know what they will need to help them recover.

Sustaining recovery

Our aim is to get bird populations to the point where they are stable or increasing – and that's what we, and our partners, have done with a number of species. But what happens next? Most of these species will still need support of some sort, such as provision of feeding habitats on farmland, which in turn requires support from agri-environment funding.

We look to government, industry, and other organisations to fulfil their legal and moral responsibility to help these vulnerable species and to maintain their populations. It will cost a great deal more to replace species in the future than to help them now – if indeed we can ever replace them.

Oystercatchers, Haematopus ostralegus, group taking flight, Leighton Moss RSPB reserve, Carnforth, Lancashire