Saving England's most threatened species from extinction

Willow Tit Summit

 

Willow Tit Summit

The Back from the Brink Willow Tit project will be entering its fourth and final year in 2020-21. One of the most impressive elements of the project has been the collaboration between partners and interested parties across the region of Yorkshire and beyond county lines.

The annual Willow Tit Summit is hosted by the project, which sees landowners, managers, ecologists and scientists from various organisations, local authorities and stakeholder groups share their willow tit knowledge through presentations, workshops and site visits.

The 2019 Summit was held at RSPB’s Fairburn Ings nature reserve near Leeds. The resident willow tits were even kind enough to make several appearances on the feeders just outside the meeting room (they are real!)

Presentations were given by Geoff Carr (Dearne Valley), Jim Clarke (Sheffield region), Paul Bellamy (RSPB ConSci) and Dr. Mark Champion from Lancashire Wildlife Trust. It was fantastic to see that all regions had seen some territory gains from last year, and that lots of the information shared was showing consistencies across different regions.

There was a general consensus that willow tits occupying upland territories seem to have more stable populations than those in the lowlands, despite having to face harsher conditions in terms of weather and food and nest availability. Perhaps there is less competition for willow tits on these sites? More research is needed to compare upland and lowland populations.

A lot of conversation focused on habitat requirements. It remains widely accepted that dense wet scrub and bramble are considered key components of willow tit habitat, but there was also discussion around creating suitable willow tit habitat through other traditional creation schemes. For example, a wet grassland project in Lancashire has encouraged willow tits to inhabit the now wet scrub copses and margins where they were not recorded previously. A pond creation project in Sheffield for great crested newts has also incorporated habitat creation for willow tits through tree planting. This demonstrates that there is plenty of scope for providing habitat for willow tits through other habitat and species projects.

Back from the Brink will continue to engage landowners over the final year of the project to provide advice for habitat management, nest boxes and monitoring. A final Willow Tit Summit will be held in winter 2020 to round up the project and focus on providing a legacy to encourage positive willow tit management in the future.

 

Sophie Pinder

Project Officer – Back from the Brink

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust

 

Would you like to help these incredible species? There are numerous ways in which you can:

  • Why not volunteer for Back from the Brink? Check out our events page for opportunities near you.
  • Help us to spread the word of this species, and the others we will be helping over the next 3 years, by sharing our message across our Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube pages. Follow us: @naturebftb.
  • Finally - help support the work we do across England by donating. Our impact will be greater with your help.

 

4 thoughts on “Willow Tit Summit

  1. Got willow tits coming in my garden most days now been here around ayear great to see them spreading out i live about 2 miles west from the wigan flashes

  2. I’m interested in attending the willow tit summit. I have identified at least one territory in an area where they had not been seen for many years. I’ve put up special nest boxes and now crossing my fingers that one will be used this spring.
    The wood is at postcode SY21 0HB, I’ve been in touch with the Montgomeryshire County Recorder.

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