One of the UK's most familiar birds of prey, the kestrel, has drastically declined in numbers, a survey of British birds reveals. The latest Breeding Birds Survey shows that the number of kestrels, which are often seen hovering over roads looking for small rodents, plunged by 36% between 2008 and 2009. The collapse came on top of a long-term decline in which the kestrel population fell by a fifth between 1995 and 2008, according to the survey by the British Trust for Ornithology. Numbers had already fallen between the 1970s and 1990s � largely, it is thought, because intensive agriculture reduced the habitats of small mammals which the birds prey on � but the reasons for more recent declines are unclear.


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