Lesser Spotted Woodpecker sightings urgently sought


Lesser Spotted Woodpecker numbers have declined considerably across Britain in recent years, and the species is now Red Listed. The reasons for this decline are not fully understood: RSPB research has suggested that the birds have not been breeding successfully but it is not clear whether this is a widespread problem.

In the past few years, since the completion of the RSPB project, very few Lesser Spotted Woodpecker nests have been reported and monitored. However, two conservationists — Ken and Linda Smith — are now helping to rectify this. With over 30 years experience of monitoring woodpecker nests, they are hoping to build up a clearer picture of where the birds are and how well they are breeding. They began their research in 2015, and so far have been able to follow 10 nests each year, finding out whether the woodpeckers are managing to raise young successfully. In 2017, they hope to be able to study more.

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker
Male Lesser Spotted Woodpecker (Photo: Steve Dolan)

This is where British birders can help. If you discover any Lesser Spotted Woodpecker nest sites, please contact Ken so that he can arrange to visit. Data on breeding sites and nests will be treated in strict confidence. It will only be passed on to the BTO and RSPB, who are supportive of this project.

Now is the time to look and listen out for the species. In February and March, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker activity is usually at its most obvious, with the birds calling and drumming to secure breeding territories. Nesting begins in April.

Please contact Ken if you are able to help: ken.smith.lsw@gmail.com