Record breeding season for Pied Flycatcher on RSPB land


This year proved to be a record-breaking breeding season for Pied Flycatchers on RSPB reserves.

The species flourished in woodlands managed by the charity during spring 2023, including at Coombes and Consall Woods in Staffordshire and Haweswater in Cumbria. At the latter site, the highest numbers of the species in 10 years were recorded, which included no fewer than 29 singing males.

The number of birds occupying nestboxes at Coombes Valley and Consall Woods in 2023 was also a record, with 66 birds counted.

Pied Flycatcher enjoyed a productive 2023 breeding season on RSPB reserves (Mark Leitch).

In Wales, habitat management and the installation of nestboxes at different reserves help boost breeding populations of the species.

Talking of the species' success, Spike Webb, RSPB warden at Haweswater, said: "I've been monitoring Pied Flycatchers in the ancient woodlands of Haweswater for many years. Their population here has always been pretty steady which has been really encouraging for us at Haweswater.

"This summer we had the best number in 10 years. Given that these birds come all the way from West Africa in spring to breed here in the Lake District, it's always a joy to see them back in the forests of Haweswater and especially when their numbers are so good."

The success of Pied Flycatchers this year is thanks to dedicated conservation efforts including habitat management. RSPB staff and volunteers installed specially designed Pied Flycatcher nestboxes, as well as clearing dense growth from the woodland understory such as holly. In doing so, other plants have been able to flourish, such as Common Bluebell, Wood Anemone and Wood Sorrel, in turn attracting more insects for Pied Flycatchers to feed on.