Great bittern makes a come back

ONE of Britain's most spectacular birds is making a dramatic comeback in its East Anglian heartland. Research from the RSPB and English Nature has shown a big annual increase in the population of the bittern, one of Britain's rarest birds, since the species started to recover from near extinction in 1997.

ONE of Britain's most spectacular birds is making a dramatic comeback in its East Anglian heartland.

Research from the RSPB and English Nature has shown a big annual increase in the population of the bittern, one of Britain's rarest birds, since the species started to recover from near extinction in 1997.

Numbers of the rare brown heron have reached at least 43 booming males, nearly quadruple the number recorded just six years ago.

Minsmere RSPB reserve recorded an increase, to eight 'boomers', for the fifth successive year; and North Warren, near Aldeburgh, had two boomers.


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In Norfolk, there was the first confirmed breeding of the bird at Strumpshaw Fen RSPB nature reserve in the Norfolk Broads for at least 50 years;

Bittern numbers had dropped dramatically in the past as large areas of reedbed habitat on which the bitterns depend were drained, destroyed or neglected leaving many bitterns without a home.

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However, intensive work to create new reedbeds, and better management of existing areas, has helped reverse the previously dramatic decline in the population.

Individual male bitterns are recognised by their far-carrying booming call, which sounds a little like a distant foghorn.

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