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Managing scrub for Nightingales
Managing scrub for Nightingales [Allan Archer]

Anglian Water and the BTO collaborate on new guide

29/10/2015

A new guide, the first in the British Trust for Ornithology’s Conservation Advice series, has been launched to help the Nightingale, a bird whose UK population has declined by 46% since 1995. Titled 'Managing Scrub for Nightingales', the guide is aimed at land managers and conservation practitioners, providing the information needed to manage sites for the benefit of this remarkable songster.

The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) and Anglian Water have drawn together the latest scientific research and practical habitat management experience to produce a new guide to help site owners manage land for Nightingales.

Traditionally, the Nightingale has been regarded as a woodland bird, with a popular view that coppiced woodland is especially valuable. However, scrub has become increasingly important for the species and may now be the most important habitat for the UK’s Nightingales.

Traditionally, the Nightingale has been regarded as a woodland bird, with a popular view that coppiced woodland is especially valuable. However, scrub has become increasingly important for the species and may now be the most important habitat for the UK’s Nightingales.

Professor Rob Fuller, from the BTO, said, “It is great to work with an organisation like Anglian Water that take habitat management for Nightingales so seriously. Scrub is a dynamic habitat, constantly changing as it evolves into woodland, and Nightingales are particularly sensitive to this change, only using scrub for the few years when it is most vigorous and dense. In order to maintain Nightingale populations it is necessary to manage scrub in a way that retains the vigorous growth that these scarce birds favour.”

Mike Drew, Anglian Water biodiversity scientist, said, “We’re really excited to be working with the BTO and the local Wildlife Trusts to manage land around our reservoirs for Nightingales and track them on their migrations."  He added, “It is vital that companies like ours, which own large areas of nature-rich land, work closely with wildlife groups to share knowledge and expertise. Partnerships like these are key to reversing the declines of species like the Nightingale and I hope this new guide will be a useful tool in the fight to save this enigmatic little songbird.”

The guide provides advice on how to manage scrub to deliver the structure needed by Nightingales. Copies of the guide are being sent to conservation practitioners working on sites with breeding Nightingales and the guide can also be downloaded from the BTO website (www.bto.org).

There is still much to be learned about Nightingales and the best approaches for managing habitat for their benefit; the BTO is continuing its research into the species, with support from Anglian Water, helping the organisation to collect much-needed information on the bird, its habitat requirements, populations and annual migration.

Contact Details

Paul Stancliffe
BTO Media Manager
Office: 01842 750050 (9am to 5.30pm)
Mobile: 07585 440910 (anytime)

Email: press.bto.org