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Chiffchaff on a branch

The chiffchaff is one of the first birds to arrive from its wintering grounds in southern Europe and north Africa. Listen out for the distinctive chiff-chaff song in early spring.

Woods provide shelter, food and nesting sites for some of the UK’s most beautiful and interesting birds. And even if you can’t always see them on a woodland walk, you’re very likely to hear them.

While many common species have increased, unfortunately around a third of all woodland bird species have declined including many woodland specialists. This is mainly due to habitat loss and fragmentation and insensitive land management.

Decline of woodland birds

There was a 50% decline in woodland birds between 1974 and 1999. These include bullfinch, lesser spotted woodpecker, marsh tit, song thrush, spotted flycatcher, tree pipit and willow tit . Dunnock, goldcrest, lesser redpoll, mistle thrush, willow warbler and wood warbler all declined by over 25% in the same period. A 30-year survey of woodland birds showed nightingale populations had dropped by more than 95%.

These worrying statistics make the protection, restoration and creation of native woodland more important than ever.

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Wood anemone

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