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Devon Willow Tit project

This is an ambitious but much needed project, which has been developed in partnership by Devon Birds, Devon Wildlife Trust and Devon Biodiversity Records Centre, and is anticipated to run over two years.

The endemic British sub-species of willow tit (kleinschmidt) is in serious trouble. The Breeding Bird survey shows that the willow tit has had the greatest decline of all species in the period 1995-2010 in Britain. New national bird atlas data (2007-11) shows that breeding range has contracted significantly. In the first national breeding atlas (1968-72) willow tits were found in 1220 10km squares; in the second atlas period (1988-91) there was a decrease to 1200 squares; the new atlas breeding distribution shows them only found in 558 10km squares.

Due to the alarming decline and increasingly fragmented distribution there is a need to accurately determine willow tit distribution right across Devon to make this information available to organisations to stimulate and guide willow tit conservation.

DBRC is identifying sites to survey and fieldwork will be carried out by trained volunteers from Devon Birds, and staff and volunteers from DBRC. Visits will be conducted in 2015 an 2016 between late January/early February and the end of March in favourable weather (little wind, and when relatively mild for the time of year).

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