The landscape of the Forest is diverse, being very much shaped by its industrial and cultural past. This diversity is matched by an impressive range of birds exploiting not only the Forest and its open habitats but also the wetlands and rivers of the Dean.
We have already, through the efforts of skilled volunteers, mapped the distribution and abundance of bird species across the Forest. This data, together with a range of other biodiversity data, contributed to the mapping of the most important sites for biodiversity to form the basis of an ‘ecological network’ across the Dean.
This project focused on the creation, restoration and maintenance of that biodiversity rich ‘ecological network’, referred to as the 'Forest of Dean Nature Improvement Area'.
Collaborating with other Foresters' Forest wildlife projects, the project team looked to improve habitats for birds generally and focused on four priority species; Woodlark, Willow Tit, Hawfinch and Nightjar.
The Forest provides important and valuable habitat for a large diversity of bird species. This project focused on two elements.
Hawfinches and Willow Tits are suffering severe national declines and are designated as a red listed species requiring urgent action. Woodlarks are a rare breeding species in England.
Watch our Hawfinch monitoring film, produced by RSPB, featuring one of their dedicated volunteers:
The aims of this part of the project have been:
The primary aim of this part of the project was to confirm that analysis of song reliably identifies this species, and may therefore be used as a census tool for monitoring the Nightjar population in the Forest.
We still need volunteers in the Forest to undertake population monitoring, and to get involved in habitat management works and supplementary feeding.
If you are interested please contact Emily Bennett, Assistant Warden for Gloucestershire Reserves, RSPB. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org