With the arrival of autumn, work has started once again on a big project – protecting and improving habitats for the Willow Tit bird, one of the UK’s most threatened bird species.

Numbers of willow tit are reported to have declined by 88% between 1970 and 2006 and it is now listed on the UK’s ‘Red List of Birds of Conservation Concern’.

So how can we help the Willow Tit?

The Sheffield Bird Study Group have found willow tit in the area around Stocksbridge. Work is therefore being undertaken to make the habitat in 3 woodlands more friendly towards the bird and thus encourage re-colonisation.

Willow tits find damp conditions favourable, so drainage work is being carried out and wetland species like Alder and Willow will be planted to provide suitable habitat and nesting sites. We will also be installing nest boxes and removing or ‘topping’ some mature trees to provide a more suitable open habitat.

What have we been doing recently?

Working with Sheffield based contractor, Bike Track, we have undertaken drainage work in Pot House Wood and New Hall Wood. This included clearing out drainage channels and, where necessary, diverting the channel so that water does not run off the hillside too quickly – thereby creating the optimum damp habitats for the willow tit.

Bike Track’s usual services are the installation and upkeep of extreme cycle tracks, so this was a new area of work for them. However, part of their cycle track work involves working on construction and drainage in woodlands, so it was an ideal transfer of skills and experience.

Willow Tit Project - before and after drainage work
Before and after the drainage work

What’s next?

Now that the drainage has been improved to re-wet areas of the woodland, our next steps will be to thin some of the existing tree cover to create a more open area and plant alder and willow trees.

This work will be taking place with our volunteer team throughout the autumn, winter and early spring months – with the project ending in March 2018.

If you would like to become involved, please check out our volunteer pages and get in touch for a chat.

How is this work being funded?

Veolia Environmental Trust have awarded a grant for this work through the Landfill Communities Fund. Sheffield City Council have also provided funding to enable this project to happen.

Veolia LogoSCC logo

 

 

Willow Tit Project work

 

 

 

 

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