Birdlife 2022

kestrel, hunting, flying-with sustainability over Blackhills Nature Reserve

Birdlife 2022 update

Breeding birds are doing well on the hole at prime four! Improvements on last year. 

In the past few months, The Habitat People have done several breeding bird surveys to map the territories of birds by identifying bird song and breeding behaviors. These surveys are carried out at in spring and start at dawn (02:50 – 04.30!), as this is the best time to observe the majority of breeding birds.

We carried out a series of these surveys in 2021, and the results comparing the two show that the work we are carrying out has begun to make a difference in providing better habitat for the site’s birdlife. This breeding season has been delayed compared to 2021, with many migrants being very late in arriving. Indeed, common whitethroat, a nationally threatened species that was very common in the meadows last year has taken nearly a month longer to create new territories and start breeding. Numbers for whitethroat across the North east are down, and this is reflected in the drop in population over the past year.


Overall, eleven species of bird have increased in number from the last year, with linnet seeing the biggest population boom – from 3 to 15 pairs, and starling, moorhen and kestrel all now being found on site. The former two of which have started breeding on site. There are always changes year on year though, with both common sandpiper and pochard not breeding in 2022. The sandpiper is particularly choosy when picking nesting sites, so may have simply decided that conditions are not to its liking this year. Pochard is now a rare species, and its attempted breeding last year was a very unusual anomaly, and the habitat they chose not hugely suitable. They most likely were a young pair that have found somewhere more suitable to nest in 2022, and their absence this year was expected.

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