Habitat for birds at Hatfield Forest
As the bird nesting season comes to a close at Hatfield Forest we have enjoyed the privilege of watching a new generation of fledglings embark upon their new lives. However, with the effects of climate change, many birds are choosing to breed either side of the traditional nesting period. This presents its own challenges, for both them and us.
Here at the Forest we are fortunate to have a wide variety of bird species. In fact, our National Nature Reserve designation owes a lot to the birds, which use the marshy areas at the north end of the lake.
One of the challenges facing birds worldwide is habitat loss. Not all of this is through the urbanisation or the destruction of green space; instead, much has to do with changing land management techniques. The loss of hedgerows is a key problem, as is the way woodland is cared for.
At Hatfield Forest the centuries old practice of coppicing creates a wealth of habitats for bird life. These techniques have been used here for over a 1000 years - the thick and bushy growth it encourages is perfect for nesting birds.
With an increase in local development and modern farming techniques, the Forest is becoming ever more isolated. Part of the National Trust’s wider aim is to work with organisations to ensure nature corridors are created or kept open to mitigate this isolation.
One of the summer visitors to the Forest is the nightingale. The restored mixed deciduous growth at Emblems Coppice is particularly suited to this elusive species and they have been heard singing here over the last couple of summers. This migratory bird lays four or five eggs and the young fledge at around 12 days old.
Highlights of our summer events programme include a series of nature walks, using binoculars to spot our bird, mammal and insect life. We are also once again holding our popular bat walks. With the aid of bat detectors, the walk leaders will help you locate and identify some of the species of bat we have at Hatfield Forest.
Booking and info: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/hatfield-forest/whats-on
Helen Hooker & Elizabeth Reeve
Visitor Welcome Team