Jan 14 2021

Rare birds breeding in record numbers

Thames Basin Heaths Partnership
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The Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area was created to protect three species of rare bird, the nightjar, woodlark and Dartford warbler.

A huge thank you to everyone

We’re delighted to announce the results of the 2020 bird counts. By sticking to main paths, keeping dogs out of vegetation and helping to prevent heathland fires, you have helped the birds achieve record numbers.

In the late 1990s, when the Special Protection Area was first being discussed, the baseline number of breeding pairs was recorded. Compared to those figures, all three species have increased. Pairs of nightjar are up 53% and Dartford warbler up 60%. Even the woodlark, the rarest of the three, is up by 12%.

Nightjar are up 53% and Dartford warbler up 60%. The woodlark is up by 12%.

What’s next?

A huge thank you to everyone who’s played a part in this brilliant result. It’s been an unusual year and the proof will be in the pudding when we count the birds this year.

Nature is complex, but factors that will help maintain the upward trend include…

  • Everyone continuing to help by sticking to main paths and keeping dogs out of vegetation, especially March to September
  • Everyone continuing to help by preventing heathland fires
  • Everyone continuing to help by discovering and using the places listed in ‘Greenspace on your doorstep’
  • Everyone continuing to help by spreading the word
  • Good weather, especially another mild winter
  • Continued brilliant work by land managers, keeping the habitats in tip top condition

What does it mean for you?

The Special Protection Area was setup to protect these rare breeding birds, but it does so much more than that. It protects the heathland habitat for all sorts of wonderful wildlife, and of course gives the landscape we love a huge amount of protection from inappropriate development.

For the more information about the results, read the surveyors’ summary report:

Read more…

Pictorial messages for "Keep to main paths", "Keep dogs out of vegetation" and "Prevent fires"



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