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Bird of the Year: Endangered pochard population in steep decline

BirdLife Finland reports that Finnish populations of the common pochard – chosen to be Bird of the Year 2018 – have plummeted by 80 percent in 20 years.

Punasotka ui vedessä.
Common pochard (Aythya ferina) Image: Antti J Lind

Nature preservation group BirdLife Finland reports that domestic populations of the endangered common pochard have decreased massively in the past two decades.

The organisation also chose the pochard to be the Bird of the Year 2018. BirdLife's calculations show that Finnish populations of the common pochard (Aythya ferina) have fallen a staggering 80 percent in the past 20 years. The organisation hopes to help revive the species by naming it the year's top bird.

In the early 1970s the Kokemäki river delta in Satakunta was bustling with some 250 pairs of pochards. Local calculations from a few years ago put the figure at just 30.

Technically all species of water fowl are threatened across Europe due to a number of factors, says specialist Antti J. Lind.

"One of the biggest reasons is that their habitat is hugely compromised, with wetlands being dried up by industrial expansion and left to eutrophy," Lind says. "The pochard needs a lot of open water to thrive."

Lind also says that hunting threatened species should be prohibited.

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