Rarity makes nature reserve a place to breed

By Antony Clay | 23/06/2017

Rarity makes nature reserve a place to breed

STAFF at a Dearne Valley nature reserve are all of a flutter after a rare bird nested at the site for the first time.

It is also the first record of the species breeding in South Yorkshire.

The RSPB’s Old Moor reserve off Manvers Way, Manvers, has provided a great place to nest for rare bearded tits which are usually only found in eastern and southern England.

Although they have spent the winter at Old Moor, this is the first time the small birds have nested.

In a bid to encourage the species to breed at the site, the reserve team has created ideal nesting conditions for the birds by placing grit trays — to help them grind up their winter food — and specially designed wigwam-style nestboxes around the reedbeds.

Now there have been confirmed sightings of two young bearded tits near the reedbed paths.

Senior site manager Matthew Capper said: “This is an amazing development for the reserve and for the area.

“Historically, bearded tits have declined due to a loss of the reedbeds they live in, and they are also very susceptible to cold winters and wet summers which can affect their survival.

“Our staff and volunteers have worked hard to ensure the reedbeds here at Old Moor are the perfect home for bearded tits.

“We hope that this is the start of a long history of these birds breeding in the Dearne Valley.”