Peak District Breeding Bird Survey Results

November 6, 2019

Peatland biodiversity - Breeding bird numbers in the Peak District fly in landmark survey

A new survey of breeding birds in the Peak District National Park has shown a positive trend in numbers of endangered species. The Peak District and South Pennine moors are a vital and unique habitat for moorland birds and their population numbers provide a key insight into the health of these moorlands. 


The results show an increase in the numbers of key moorland species over the last 30 years; 21 out of the 29 species surveyed have increased in abundance. In contrast to national trends from the UK Government’s State of Nature 2019 report, populations of 16 bird species in the Peak District are showing positive trends. The curlew, which experienced a decline of 48% nationally between 1995 and 2017, increased 252% between 1990 and 2018 in the Peak District.

 

Image © Moors for the Future Partnership @moorsforfuture


Traditional hill grazing, grouse moor management and peatland restoration are believed to have all played their part in these success stories. In 1990, vast areas of black and degraded moors were a common sight in the Peak District and South Pennines due to historic pollution. Today, much of the bare peat is returning to vegetated moorlands due to the hard work of land owners and conservation organisations. Many moors now support native plants, including sphagnum moss. These changes are crucial for increasing biodiversity. The importance of peatlands as a habitat features prominently in the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan. However, the Breeding Bird Survey also reveals declining species that appear to be following the national downward trend, suggesting that more work is needed to enhance these vital habitats.


The survey, which took place in 2018, and previously in 1990 and 2004, was carried out by Moors for the Future Partnership, in collaboration with Natural England and Peak District land owners and land managers. The British Trust for Ornithology analysed the survey results and drew comparisons to the previous two surveys to give an insight into breeding bird populations, and the influence of key factors. These factors include land use, land management and habitat conditions and types. The survey was funded by Natural England, the Moorland Association, National Trust, RSPB, Severn Trent, United Utilities and Yorkshire Water.

The full report and analysis are available online here.

 

Langlands Moss Restoration works underway
Langlands Moss Restoration works underwayLanglands Moss Local Nature Reserve, on the south edge of East Kilbride, Scotland is set to be…
Dunlin © Moors for the Future Partnership
Peak District Breeding Bird Survey ResultsPeatland biodiversity - Breeding bird numbers in the Peak District fly in landmark survey A new…
Snowdonia Society volunteers creating heather bale dams on the Migneint, Snowdonia. © Dan Struthers Photography
Working together for the future of Welsh peatlandsA major programme of works is underway this season to restore peatlands across Wales. A large…
European Peatland Strategies workshop - Bonn, Germany
European Peatland Strategies workshop - Bonn, Germany Over 30 representatives from across 12 European countries attended a workshop to examine existing…
Bog cotton landscape © Stephen Price
Peatlands and the climate emergency2019 has seen all four devolved governments across the UK declare a climate emergency which will…
Richard Payne
A tribute to Richard Payne The IUCN UK Peatlands Programme team were all saddened to hear the shocking news about the death of…
Image of sphagnum in pool © Joe Holden
Sphagnum is a key ingredient of natural flood managementIn 2008 iCASP published research that showed how water running over Sphagnum on blanket peatlands…
Image of V-notch in ply-sheet dam © Emma Shuttleworth
Peat restoration and natural flood managementThe Upland Environments Research Unit at the University of Manchester has been working closely with…
Image of bog vegetation © Dom Hinchley
New edition of Conserving Bogs: The Management HandbookA new edition of Conserving Bogs: The Management Handbook is now available. Conserving Bogs: The…
Rob Stoneman at the House of Commons flanked by Rob Brown and Julian Sturdy
Managing the Uplands for Public Benefit House of Commons ReceptionOver 48 representatives from across the peatland community in the UK as well as MPs and Peers…
Large heath butterfly
Peatland biodiversity - butterflies & mothsAt Butterfly Conservation we understand the great value of healthy functioning peatlands for…
Cover of GHG emissions inventory
Inclusion of peatlands in the UK's GHG emissions inventory publishedThe long-awaited report on inclusion of peatlands in the UK’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions…