Bearded tits boom at RSPB Old Moor

Tuesday 20 June 2017

First ever breeding of rare birds on South Yorkshire nature reserve

RSPB Old Moor has confirmed that rare bearded tits have bred on the site for the first time. This gives the nature reserve, near Barnsley, the first ever record of this distinctive bird breeding in South Yorkshire.

Bearded tits are mainly found in the reedbeds of Eastern and Southern England, with breeding populations also occurring in West Yorkshire, Lancashire and on the Humber. Although they have been found over-wintering at Old Moor, this is the first time they have nested, causing much excitement.

The reserve team have created ideal nesting conditions for the birds by placing grit trays and specially designed 'wigwam' nestboxes around the reedbeds.

There have been confirmed sightings of two young bearded tits near the reedbed paths, and the staff are encouraging visitors to come along to hopefully catch sight of these enchanting little birds.

Senior Site manager Matthew Capper said: "This is an amazing development for the reserve and for the area. Historically, bearded tits have declined due to a loss of the reed beds they live in, and they are also very susceptible to cold winters and wet summers which can affect their survival. Our staff and volunteers have worked hard to ensure the reed beds here at Old Moor are the perfect home for bearded tits. We hope that this is the start of a long history of these birds breeding in the Dearne Valley."

It has been a good breeding season overall for the site with another rare reedbed specialist - the bittern also producing two nests with chicks. Bee orchids continue to thrive and iconic avocets - the emblem of the RSPB, have also fledged young.

Last Updated: Tuesday 28 August 2018

Tagged with: Country: England Topic: Birds and wildlife