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Local volunteers protect nests and chicks of rare Morecambe Bay birds

Volunteers from Morecambe Bay Partnership are working alongside Cumbria Wildlife Trust and Natural England staff to protect the nests of ringed plover, arctic tern, and oystercatcher on Foulney and Walney Islands, near Barrow-in-Furness.

The volunteers will engage with everyone who visits the sites and will provide an opportunity to spot these rare and wonderful birds that call Morecambe Bay home for the spring and summer. It is hoped that positive engagement with site users will prevent the birds from being disturbed whilst nesting, the most vulnerable time for these ground-nesting shore birds.

This local action is part of an exciting project called ‘Life on the Edge’ which aims to protect rare and threatened shore birds around Morecambe Bay, and in other sites around the UK.

Morecambe Bay is one of the best places in the UK to see birdlife. Around 210,000 birds flock to our shores in winter, from their arctic breeding grounds, and many birds choose to nest and raise their families on the beaches around the Bay in the spring and summer.

Since the COVID pandemic more people have been enjoying visiting the coast than ever before. Sadly this has led to increased disturbance of nesting birds from loose dogs particularly, often resulting in the birds abandoning their nests.

Anya Kuliszewski, Morecambe Bay Partnership’s Nature & Wildlife Officer says “We have recruited a team of enthusiastic and friendly volunteers who will be on hand to show point out the birds which call Morecambe Bay home, and to advise people on how to avoid disturbing the nests. We’ll be asking people to pop dogs on a lead when walking on the beaches, as the nests are so difficult to spot and very easily disturbed. It’s an easy thing that we can all do to help give these rare birds a chance of raising their young in peace.”

To find out more and to register as a volunteer, go to morecambebay.org.uk. You can also follow Morecambe Bay Partnership on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to discover even more about the nature, heritage and history of Morecambe Bay.

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