Saving England's most threatened species from extinction

Introducing the Willow Tit

Before I started working for Yorkshire Wildlife Trust two years ago, I had never even heard of a Willow Tit. It was therefore incredibly surprising to learn that this subtle little bird has declined by 94% since the 1970s, and suffered local extinctions in many parts of the country.

Having delivered conservation works in the Dearne Valley for a year now, I have developed a passion for this enigmatic species, which favours the Dearne Valley’s damp scrub and young woods habitats which are often overlooked for conservation. Now, I am delivering one of the most innovative projects to secure populations of these charming birds.

This project feels extra special to me, being Yorkshire born and bred, it is humbling to learn that my local area is a hotspot for one of the UK’s rarest bird species. One of the main aims of this project will be to inspire more local people, landowners and land managers about this valuable asset in the Dearne, and to work with them to advise land management practices to benefit this key species, by ensuring valuable scrub habitat isn’t disregarded as waste or of low-value. This kind of habitat management won’t only benefit Willow Tits, it will also create a network of healthy systems that benefit the local people too. Wet woodland and damp scrub can help mitigate flood risks, and by increasing water storage in these habitats, we will help to protect homes and businesses from flood damage during future periods of high rainfall and river levels.

All of our work will be underpinned by state-of-the-art technology, using radio tracking and colour ringing to monitor Willow Tit movements through the landscape. We know very little about how these birds use the landscape, and so gathering this data will ensure we can apply suitable management to other areas of the country, and hopefully reverse the national decline. This pioneering approach to landscape-scale conservation is incredibly exciting, as we are finding out new information which could potentially save this beautiful bird from extinction in the UK. What a success story that would be!

We want to engage with as many people as we can over the next few years to raise awareness, and for them to actively play a role in the survival of this species. We shall be training volunteers to survey for Willow Tits, providing opportunities to help in habitat management works and showcase a range of community events.
There’s plenty of ways to get involved, so watch this space for upcoming events, training and volunteer days. Things “willow-nly*” get better with your support!

*For those as slow on the uptake as our communications manager, James, the pun is - “will only”.

Sophie Pinder
Project Officer

1 thought on “Introducing the Willow Tit

  1. Wе’re a group of voⅼunteers and opening a new scheme in our community.

    Yoսr wеb site offeгed us with useful info to work on. You’ve done
    an impressive job and our whoⅼe grouρ shall be thankful to you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Donate now