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Britain sees decline in Christmas birds like doves

LONDON — Just try finding a partridge in a pear tree in Britain these days.

Britain’s Royal Society for Protection of Birds said the two icons of the Christmas song — grey partridges and turtle doves — are in alarming decline. It said authorities should act to prevent them from becoming just distant memories within the famed ‘‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’’ song.

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The society said the number of partridges have dropped 30 percent. Turtle doves are even worse off, with a 60 percent decline in numbers.

Society spokesman Grahame Madge said Friday that budget cuts by the British government and the European Union threaten programs that support wildlife like the birds.

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