AN ORNITHOLOGIST is hoping to set the nation’s hearts aflutter with a campaign to find Britain’s national bird.

David Lindo, who is known as The Urban Birder, decided to promote his passion for the conservation of birds after discovering that Britain is one of the few countries in the world not to have its own national bird.

While America has the bald eagle, Sweden the common blackbird, Japan the green pheasant, France the Gallic rooster and India the peacock, the author and broadcaster said it was hard to believe that as a nation of animal lovers, Britain did not have a bird to call its own.

He said: “I want to encourage the great British public to vote for the bird that best represents all that is great about this nation.”

More than 70,000 people voted in the first round to whittle it down to a shortlist of ten and there is now six weeks to choose which British bird they would like to see represent the country, the expert said. The ten most popular birds voted for so far are: robin, kingfisher, barn owl, blue tit, wren, blackbird, puffin, mute swan, red kite and hen harrier.

Mr Lindo said: “Along with the expected contenders there is one major surprise, the hen harrier, one of England’s rarest breeding birds.”

The final round of voting for Britain’s National Bird Campaign closes on May 7, the day of the general election. Mr Lindo said he will be speaking to the Government once the public has voted to see if the winner can officially be made Britain’s national bird.

Votes can be cast at or by paper ballot at selected nature reserves across the UK.