Bid to save the nightingale in Norfolk

Nightingale singing from a hawthorn bush, Minsmere, Suffolk, John Bridges (rspb-images.com).

Nightingale singing from a hawthorn bush, Minsmere, Suffolk, John Bridges (rspb-images.com). - Credit: John Bridges (rspb-images.com)

With experts predicting that the nightingale will have become extinct within 30 years, there is little time to lose to rally efforts to save the bird.

Now, a project is under way in Norfolk to create greater understanding of the species' desperate plight.

The conservationists involved in the 'Nightingale Nights' scheme are calling on bird lovers to record the sound of the bird's distinctive song and also upload it on to a website. They are also encouraged to sign a petition in support of the threatened creature.

Nightingales are seen in the UK for the breeding season between April and September, but the breeding population has almost halved since the 1990s.

Project organiser Chris Rose, from King's Lynn, said: 'Time is short and in even shorter supply for the nightingale. They are literally sliding towards extinction in this country. There are now more people named 'Nightingale' than there are singing birds.'


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The project is being backed by the RSPB, whose spokesman Rupert Masefield said: 'Abbie's initiative looks like a brilliant and creative way to make people aware of the plight of nightingales and other migrating birds.'

He added: 'Nature and wildlife, and nightingales in particular, have a long history of inspiring art. The richness of the nightingale's song is deservedly celebrated.'

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The birds are renowned for their powerful singing in the dark, and have been celebrated by poets since classical antiquity. They can be heard between mid April and June.

A 2012 survey by the British Trust for Ornithology showed there are just 3,300 pairs of nightingales left in the whole country.

Data from the organisation also suggests the number of the birds in Britain dropped by 57 per cent between 1995 and 2009.

Conservationists have put their decline down to a range of problems across their migratory route. Ffor more information visit www.nightingalenights.org.uk

People can upload their own recordings of nightingales to soundcloud https://soundcloud.com/groups/nightingale-nights

Sign the petition at (you.38degrees.org.uk/p/nightingales)

Are you involved in a conservation project? Email david.bale2@archant.co.uk

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