Search

Tiny bird - the firecrest - thriving in woodland areas of the East, says new report

00:01 09 July 2012

Firecrest. Picture by Pixellence

Firecrest. Picture by Pixellence

Archant

Warmer summers are leading to booming numbers of one of Britain’s smallest birds in East Anglia, according to a new report.

The firecrest, which normally prefers life in Continental Europe, is becoming more common in woodland areas in Norfolk, say authors of the latest Rare Breeding Birds Panel (RBBP).

The tiny colourful bird first colonised the UK half a century ago, but the population has risen, and the latest reports suggests there may be over 1,000 pairs nesting in Britain. At least 116 of these nest in Norfolk, the majority of which are found in Thetford Forest.

Four firecrests weigh less than an ounce and the bird competes with the goldcrest for the title of Britain’s smallest bird.

In 2010, the latest year to be covered by the RBBP report, there were reports of at least 800 pairs of the tiny woodland bird. But experts believe there could be well in excess of 1,000 pairs now nesting in the UK, all in England and Wales, because of its resemblance to the goldcrest.

The warmer summers seen in recent decades favour the firecrest, and during the winter it leaves its nesting sites to winter along the coast of South West England or on Continental Europe.

However, the RBBP report paints a bleak picture for the Dartford warbler, which appears to have declined substantially in the last few years, because of the harsh winters leading up to 2010.

The report shows that in some parts of its range, the robin-sized warbler has suffered particularly badly. In Suffolk, the population dropped to only 91 pairs from 135 pairs in 2009.

Ben McFarland, area manager for the RSPB on the Suffolk Coast said authorities had been working to reverse the decline of the Dartford warbler by regenerating and improving its favourite heathland habitats.

“Historically, the rapid increases in the numbers of Dartford warblers may have been partly due to some of the milder winters we’ve experienced, because the Dartford warbler stays put on the breeding grounds all year-round. Hopefully the winter of 2012 may have allowed the birds to recover, but it’s safe to say that the changing climate is having a significant impact on the future of this species,” he said.

Other notable events featured in the RBBP report include suggest that the golden oriole – a striking thrush-sized yellow-and-black bird – did not nest in the UK in 2010 and the purple heron and pink-footed goose were both recorded as nesting for the first time.

Mark Holling, secretary of the RBBP, said: “These shifts shown by some nesting birds fit the pattern of climate change with species moving from further south in Europe to colonise the UK.”

4 comments

  • Ive been seeing them in my garden this year in norwich which is unusal around the conifer trees and bird table feeding havent seen them in previous years now i know what they are will try and get some pics

    Report this comment

    scorch382

    Monday, July 9, 2012

  • Ive been seeing them in my garden this year in norwich which is unusal around the conifer trees and bird table feeding havent seen them in previous years now i know what they are will try and get some pics

    Report this comment

    scorch382

    Monday, July 9, 2012

  • Ive been seeing them in my garden this year in norwich which is unusal around the conifer trees and bird table feeding havent seen them in previous years now i know what they are will try and get some pics

    Report this comment

    scorch382

    Monday, July 9, 2012

  • Mark Holling, secretary of the RBBP, said: “These shifts shown by some nesting birds fit the pattern of climate change with species moving from further south in Europe to colonise the UK.”...More climatic twaddle from RBBP..

    Report this comment

    nrg

    Monday, July 9, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

Other news

Yesterday, 07:50
Louie the chihuahua on a chair

A delighted dog rehoming centre has waved goodbye to a diminutive dog it thinks is the smallest it has ever seen.

Mon, 17:11
There is an accident on the Newmarket Road in Norwich this afternoon.  Photo: Bill Smith

A watch, earrings and cash have been stolen after a break-in at a house in Thetford.

Saturday, June 27, 2015
Wayland Prison. Photo:Sonya Duncan

A prisoner at HMP Wayland, near Watton, died of natural causes, a coroner has recorded.

Saturday, June 27, 2015
Zarles Lawlor, left

A widower has paid tribute to his “extraordinary” wife who was a champion for her town and helped countless people in difficulty.

Most Read

Mon, 17:11
There is an accident on the Newmarket Road in Norwich this afternoon.  Photo: Bill Smith

A watch, earrings and cash have been stolen after a break-in at a house in Thetford.

Read more
Thetford
Yesterday, 07:50
Louie the chihuahua on a chair

A delighted dog rehoming centre has waved goodbye to a diminutive dog it thinks is the smallest it has ever seen.

Read more
Thetford
Saturday, June 27, 2015
Zarles Lawlor, left

A widower has paid tribute to his “extraordinary” wife who was a champion for her town and helped countless people in difficulty.

Read more
Thetford
Monday, March 2, 2015
Police are appealing for information

A boy managed to escape after he was assaulted in an area of woodland in Thetford, according to police.

Read more
Crime
Mon, 12:50
Ravine Rip Up hill cycle race on the promenade at Gorleston.

Picture: James Bass

Cyclists put their pedal power to the max when they took part in a speedy uphill dash in Gorleston - marking the first of what is hoped to become an annual event.

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 23°C

min temp: 19°C

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Thetford and Brandon e-edition today E-edition