This February, the RSPB is partnering with The Climate Coalition on the Show the Love campaign, where we will be joining millions of people all over the UK, pledging to fight climate change. Take a pledge today and add your voice to make a powerful difference to the climate crisis, and turn red hearts green this February.
In the theme of red to green, and a message of hope, RSPB England Communications Officer, Sydney Henderson, reflects on some of the key species who, with RSPB’s help, have recovered from ‘red’ conservation status.
Bittern (red to amber)
In 1997 there were only 11 booming bitterns recorded in the UK, with similarly low numbers across western Europe. Alarmed by the plunging bittern numbers, the RSPB started a research programme to investigate the needs of this previously little-studied bird. This led to some clear management recommendations that have been, and still are being, implemented at many sites in the UK.
Twenty years and two large RSPB-led projects later, a total of 160 booming males were recorded in the UK in 2016. This success was largely due to detailed research being rapidly put into practice, strong partnerships between organisations managing reedbeds, and the fact that a high percentage of reedbeds, bittern’s habitat, in the UK are managed by conservation organisations.
Nightjars (red to amber)
Large areas of mature commercial forests planted after the Second World War, reduced the areas of lowland heath, nightjars preferred nesting habitat. Extensive felling and harvesting of these forests has begun to restore much of the lowland heath, and with it the nightjar population is creeping up.
The UK population of Nightjars increased by 36% between 1992 and 2004, and this continued increase is largely attributed to habitat protection, management and restoration of heathlands, and the continued availability of clear-fell/young plantations in conifer forests
Red kite (amber to green)
In the 19th century, Red kites were persecuted to extinction throughout the UK, with the exception of Wales. In the early 20th century, the rarity of the red kites, made it a prime target for egg collectors and bounty hunters, who robbed up to a quarter of nests each year.
In the 1950s and 60s, more sophisticated nest protection initiatives were brought in which reduced the proportion of nest robbing and allowed the population space to recover.
In the 1980s, a reintroduction programme run by RSPB, Natural England and Scottish Natural Heritage, helped to establish successful breeding populations in both Scotland and England. These successes encouraged further re-releases throughout the UK.
The UK population of red kites is now considered on the ‘green’ list, meaning it is of least critical conservation concern. Numbers having risen an amazing 1026% from 1995 to 2014.
This February, help us fight climate change by pledging your support. Whether it’s by driving less, committing to one meat-free meal a week, letting part of your garden grow wild, or any other means, everyone has the power to positively impact nature and the environment.
We are asking you to share your personal pledge for nature to inspire others to do the same. Either write or film your pledge and share it on social media using #ShowtheLove.
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