The New Forest boasts an impressive array of
The New Forest is a great place for all sorts of birds, many of which nest on the ground, especially those that breed in the open heathland and mires.
Wading birds include the curlew, redshank, snipe and lapwing, each of which is becoming rare in the south of England. Other specialties are the woodlark, nightjar and Dartford warbler. Again the New Forest is an important stronghold for these unusual birds; indeed it is designated as a Special Protection Area in part because of the breeding populations of these three species.
The main danger is that these ground nesting birds can easily be frightened away from their nests in spring, leaving eggs or young vulnerable to the cold, or to predators such as crows. Obviously the disturbance could be quite ‘natural’ like a passing fox – but people straying from the main tracks, with or without dogs, are an additional risk.
Activities designed to address the issue include:
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