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Ground Nesting Birds

Ground Nesting Birds on Therfield Heath

Lots of you will be aware that it is that time of year again….the Skylarks and Meadow Pipits are singing across Therfield Heath and they are now starting to nest. We understand Therfield Heath is a great place to walk and to exercise your dogs, but please please consider the inhabitants of the site. Wherever you are on site, there are likely to be some Skylarks and even rarer Meadow Pipits trying to nest in the longer grass. The easiest way to help these birds succeed is by keeping to the obvious pathways and keeping your dog(s) with you on those tracks. Repeated disturbance by dogs that run through the grass and those that specifically ‘quarter’, such as spaniels, causes the birds to abandon their nests – it may be the eggs or the young that they abandon, but it will lead to breeding failure.

Having conducted a recent survey, we found ground-nesting birds almost everywhere across the site, but that some areas have higher densities than others. So you know where these areas are, we have produced a map. The red areas on the map (mostly downhill of the chalk track) show where the highest density were found, the blue are intermediate and the green area is where the lowest density were found.

These birds are already threatened, so please be mindful of their presence on site, at least until the end of the breeding season at the end of July/beginning of August. We are going to put up a few reminder signs around the two larger ‘red zone’ areas, but not in other bird populated areas but hope people will still think about the birds and keep to the paths with their dogs.

Thank you so much for your consideration

The Conservators of Therfield Heath & Greens

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