Volunteers building homes near Telford for rare bird

Volunteers have been out in force to try to provide more homes for the rare Pied Flycatcher bird in woods near Telford.

Wrekin Forest volunteers spent a day at Ercall Wood, on the edge of the Wrekin, helping Shropshire Wildlife Trust put up 30 nest boxes that have been donated by Shropshire-based company CJ Wildlife.

Pied Flycatchers are amber listed under the UK conservation categories because of steep declines in their population in recent years.

They are closely associated with oak woodland such as that found on the Ercall and take readily to nest boxes, so the volunteers have high hopes that the majority of the nest boxes will be occupied this spring.

The nest boxes may also attract Redstarts which, like the Pied Flycatcher, are an amber listed, breeding season visitor, from south of the Sahara.

Matthew Marston, reserves officer for Shropshire Wildlife Trust, co-ordinated the day. He said: "We have carefully numbered and recorded the location of each box to ensure reliable research data can be collected.

"During the breeding season the nest boxes will be inspected by a licensed Shropshire bird ringer to help the trust to monitor the birds' breeding success.

"We are extremely grateful for the donation of the boxes from CJ Wildlife and for the assistance of such dedicated volunteers who have helped to move this project forward."

The nest boxes used are constructed from a material called eco-plate which is produced from recycled car seats.

As well as being environmentally friendly the boxes are harder-wearing than wood and will also offer additional protection from predators such as squirrels and woodpeckers.

There are estimated to be about 35,000 to 40,000 pairs breeding in the UK each year.

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