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Help Protect UK's Rare Breeding Birds?

Become a ‘Godwit Guardian’

Volunteers are needed to keep watch over some of the UK’s rarest birds this breeding season.

Each year one or two pairs of the endangered black-tailed godwit nest on marshland on the Ribble estuary, near Preston, Lancashire. Only around 60 pairs of the long-legged wading birds breed in the whole of the UK, and the Ribble birds are the only ones in North West England. However, their rarity makes them a target for egg thieves, and if the birds breed this year, the RSPB and Fylde Bird Club will mount a 24-hr guard on the nest.The two organisations have launched an appeal for people to become ‘godwit guardians,’ by volunteering to help with the nest watch near Freckleton.

RSPB project officer Carol Coupe said: “We are asking for the support of people to get involved by giving just a few hours of their time to help watch over the nest site. Volunteers do not need to be knowledgeable about birds as training will be given and there is a huge amount of satisfaction in helping to safeguard the only nests in the North West of these rare and beautiful birds.”The black-tailed godwit nestwatch project is organised by the RSPB and supported by Fylde Bird Club, Lancashire Police, and local landowners. Cory Environmental Trust in Britain through the Landfill Communities Fund has generously funded the nestwatch for the next two years. Up to two pairs of black-tailed godwits have nested near the estuary for several years and the nestwatch scheme has helped protect these rare breeding birds from thieves who may try to steal the eggs for their illegal collections. Black-tailed godwits are fully protected by UK law and anyone convicted of taking their eggs would face a fine of up to £5,000 for each incident or six months in prison.

Anybody who would like more information about volunteering should contact Carol Coupe on 01995 642251 or e-mail carol.coupe@rspb.org.uk

4th July 2014