Black Redstart – A confirmed sighting of a male black redstart at an undisclosed location in Nottingham city centre last week has given hope that the birds can be tempted to breed in the City once again.
The black redstart, a robin sized member of the chat sub-family that also includes robins, stonechats and nightingales, generally breed in mountainous regions, seeking out rocky cliffs and crags, but after the Second World War the birds took up residence on bombed out buildings which replicated their preferred nesting conditions – earning the species the nickname ‘bomb-site bird’.
In addition to replicating their nesting sites, disturbed ground around derelict buildings provided a close match for the stony, weedy areas they would find on mountain screes. As a result, they became a regular site in a number of UK cities including London, Liverpool, Manchester and Nottingham.
With estimates putting the breeding population at fewer than 100 pairs across the UK, the bird, which has top level protected under the Wildlife & Countryside act and is considered a ‘Red List’ species of Conservation Concern.
Despite efforts to conserve and replicate its preferred feeding habitat and the installation of specially designed nesting boxes on buildings across the City Centre., the birds have been spotted less frequently in Nottingham of late, with no recent confirmed records of breeding
Speaking about the sighting Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust’s Nature Recovery Manager Michael Walker said:
“It was exciting to receive the report of a singing male and a number of us headed out to see if we could locate it.
“Whilst this was an isolated sighting, we hope that the birds will become reestablished as regular breeding birds in the City and we’re planning survey checks at all the sites where we’ve installed nest boxes over the coming months.”
Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust has previously installed black redstart next boxes on buildings including Castle Rock Brewery and Nottingham Trent University’s Confetti building.
“As part of its work reviewing and commenting on planning applications for development in and around the City the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust has long recommended that developers incorporate roof top habitat to replace the rich habitat that often develops on long established Brownfield sites.