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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 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.

What has the project delivered?

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

Supporting 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.

Watch our Hawfinch monitoring film, produced by RSPB, featuring one of their dedicated volunteers:

The aims of this part of the project have been:

  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.
Supporting Nightjars

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.

What can I get involved in?

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:


Our Stronghold for Nature projects

Our Stronghold for Nature Projects

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