Queen Elizabeth has donated an undisclosed sum from her personal income to a controversial songbird charity.

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The Songbird Survival organisation has attracted criticism for supporting the killing of magpies, grey squirrels and wild cats to preserve the nation’s songbirds.

The Norfolk-based charity has also consistently attacked the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds – a charity the queen is patron of – for denying the animals are responsible for the decline of the songbird species.

Over the past 30 years, the population of the less redpoll has decreased by 30 per cent, the tree sparrow by 80 per cent, the skylark by 75 per cent, the song thrush by 53 per cent and the bullfinch by over 50 per cent.

Songbird Survival is one of 17 animal charities the queen donated money to last year.

A spokesman for the charity said: “We can confirm that the queen has made a donation to the charity from the Privy Purse Charitable Trust.

“The charity represents many UK bird lovers who are concerned at the dramatic decline in songbird numbers in recent years.”

A spokesman for the queen’s London residence Buckingham Palace said she donated UKP301,709 to 346 charities last year, adding: “There is no significance in the donation.”