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Our Stronghold for Nature Birds


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 will now work on the creation, restoration and maintenance of that biodiversity rich ‘ecological network’, referred to as the Forest of Dean Nature Improvement Area.

The project will work closely with other projects, seeking to improve habitats for birds generally and will focus efforts on four priority species; Woodlark, Willow Tit, Hawfinch and Nightjar.

What will the project deliver?

The Forest provides important and valuable habitat for a large diversity of bird species. This project will focus on two elements.

The first will focus on Woodlark, Hawfinch and Willow Tit.

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.

The aims of this part of the project are:

  1. To manage more land within the Forest to provide critically needed foraging and breeding habitat.
  2. To gather information on the population status and trends of these priority bird species.
  3. To increase knowledge of volunteers, land managers and local people on the status and needs of these priority species.

The second element will focus on Nightjars. The primary aim of this part of the project is 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.

What can I get involved in?

We need volunteers 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:


Our Stronghold for Nature projects

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Our Stronghold for Nature Projects

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