Reed warblers - a sound of the waterways
Numbers of reed warbler have increased by 48 per cent on our canals and rivers in England and Wales says the British Trust for Ornithology. This compares with a four per cent reduction on UK waterways as a whole in the last decade. The key reason for the increase in these elusive little birds is having reed bed habitat available along the canal banks.
Reed warblers are incredibly shy so you are far more likely to recognise their song then spot them in the flesh”
In recent years, changes in the way the Canal & River Trust works have contributed to improved management, conservation and installation of soft banks, coir rolls and reed fringes to replace and soften hard edges along our waterways.
Increasing the extent of reed margins and beds, which link important wildlife sites and form continuous naturalised waterway corridors, has not only benefited the reed warbler, but plants and animals such as water voles, fish, amphibians, kingfishers, dragonflies and pondweeds.
Canal & River Trust ecologist Leela O’Dea explains: “Reed warblers are incredibly shy so you are far more likely to recognise their song then spot them in the flesh. Unlike common garden birds, which are much better at adapting to changes in their immediate environment, species such as reed warblers need their own unique habitats to flourish.”
With warblers already present on the River Lee, the reed bed creation work we’re carrying out in east London with the Olympic Delivery Authority will ensure that this traditional sound of a British summer will be part of this year’s Olympic celebrations.