It's a 'baby boom' for the bitterns!
28 June 2012
The lonely bittern at RSPB Old Moor nature reserve has finally found love.
Only weeks ago he was booming – the distinctive call that sounds like someone blowing over an empty bottle – for a mate and now his calls have been answered and the reed beds are splashing with the sound of tiny bittern feet.
It is a historical moment at the nature reserve near Barnsley, as this is the first nesting bittern in South Yorkshire for over 100 years.
Bitterns – a relative of the grey heron – were classed as extinct in the UK in the late 19th century. Many were hunted for the dinner table or lost their habitat through the draining of their homes for farmland. As recently as the 1990s, there were thought to be only 11 males left, none of which were in South Yorkshire.
Site manager Matthew Capper said: “This is an amazing moment for the site. We have been working hard to create exactly the right habitat for bitterns to breed and this is a brilliant result, not just for Old Moor, but for South Yorkshire.”
Just like any new parents, the birds have a strict feeding routine for their young and staff at the reserve are asking visitors to be respectful of the new family and only watch them from the marked areas on site.