Rare woodland bird species to benefit from a home makeover at Blacka Moor

Blacka Moor nature reserve has received a boost for rare woodland birds following the completion of a 12 month habitat restoration project by Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trust.

The project was made possible thanks to an award of £20,000 from Viridor Credits Environmental Company, through the Landfill Communities Fund, which funded a year-long programme of works to improve the ancient semi-natural woodland on the nature reserve for migrant bird species such as pied flycatcher, spotted flycatcher and redstart. Careful thinning of the woodland, opening up glades and removal of invasive species such as rhododendron and sycamore have improved the habitat for birds. Removal of smaller trees surrounding the largest veteran trees in the woodland, known as “halo thinning”, has opened up space for these giant woodland trees to thrive.

With the help of volunteers, 46 nest boxes have been installed to provide safe breeding sites for the target bird species. The creation of open space within the woodland and the installation of a new woodland pond will boost insect numbers, providing an important food source for breeding birds. Finally, to help visitors learn about the nature reserve and the wildlife which lives there, three new interpretation panels have been created and a new leaflet printed.

Nabil Abbas, our Living Landscapes Manager, said: “Small numbers of rare woodland migrant birds arrive at Blacka Moor every spring looking for suitable habitat to breed, having spent the winter in Africa. These bird species are red-listed, meaning they are globally threatened and have suffered severe declines in breeding population and range over the last 25 years. We’re delighted that this project has enabled us to improve conditions for these birds at Blacka Moor, providing better opportunities for them to breed and start the recovery of their populations”.

Gareth Williams, Operations Manager at Viridor Credits, said “we are proud to be able to work with Nabil and the team at Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust to deliver another win for wildlife. The effects of the project will be far-reaching, demonstrating that local green initiatives can have global effects.”

If you would like to help your local Wildlife Trust to look after wildlife habitats at Blacka Moor, please come along to one of our regular volunteer work days. For details see wildsheffield.com/whats-on.