Those of you watching the current series of BBC Springwatch may have seen the piece on the UK breeding population of Black-tailed Godwit. The nominate subspecies is in real trouble on a global level. In a UK context In recent years, the breeding population has continued to be affected by increased flooding in the spring and summer (particularly on the Ouse Washes), and predation, both of which can result in the loss of nests and chicks.
This year Project Godwit are trialling the rear and release of black-tailed godwits in an effort to boost population numbers, using a process known as “headstarting”. The following is taken from their website:
“Thirty-two black-tailed godwit eggs have been collected from nests at RSPB Nene Washes – under a licence granted by Natural England. The eggs have been safely transported to specialist facilities at WWT Welney, where they will be incubated until they are ready to hatch. WWT staff will then rear the birds in captivity, until they reach the point of fledging when they will be released to join the black-tailed godwits in the wild at Welney.
Because black-tailed godwits often will lay replacement clutches when nests are lost, we hope that the godwits from which eggs were taken will also go on to lay and rear another brood successfully in the wild. This will give the godwits a temporary boost in productivity, crucial at a time when the UK population of godwits is teetering on the edge at around 60 pairs. ”
You can find out more about Project Godwit and find out how you can help here: https://projectgodwit.org.uk/