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WORKING TO PROTECT DWINDLING NUMBERS

A National Trust parkland, near Worcester, is working hard to help the ever dwindling population of nightingales.

Once a common defining sign of spring, the nightingale’s chorus is now rarely heard but conservation management by the rangers at Croome is providing this globally threatened species with ideal conditions to thrive.

Unfortunately, nightingale numbers have dwindled over recent years and estimated to have dropped by 90% since 1960. Climate change or changes of estate and farm management throughout the country are thought to be the main reasons for loss of their habitat.

“Croome is one of the most north westerly places that this elusive bird breeds,” said Hugh Warwick, Croome’s Area Ranger. “We hope that all the hard work to protect their environment will be rewarded with woodlands full of their beautiful song.”

Each year these amazing birds fly all the way from tropical Africa and Croome is one of the most north westerly places that this elusive bird breeds. The secretive Nightingale, which usually arrives towards the end of April, requires a particular type of habitat made up of woodland and scrubby margins. The rangers have been creating additional dense cover to protect these ground nesting birds by coppicing areas of woodland and encouraging thick thorn and bramble scrub to grow to protect them from predators.

Nightingales are ‘insectivorous’ meaning that all they eat are insects so standing and fallen deadwood will also be left to attract fungi and insects, which in turn should also benefit other birds.

Visitors can join Katherine Alker, Croome’s Garden and Park Manager for a free spring walk in the gardens at Croome on Thursday 27 April at 11am. The walk is free but normal admission applies to the parkland. Booking essential by calling 01905 371006.

Croome is open throughout the year. The park and lakeside are open from 9am until 5.30pm and Croome Court is open from 11am to 4.30pm every day. Normal admission applies.

For more information please call: 01905 371006 or visit the website www.nationaltrust.org.uk/croome

Photo credit: Katherine Alker