Moorland Birds: their history and future

This project aims to protect and celebrate Dartmoor’s special moorland birds. Many of our British upland birds are under threat, facing population declines and loss of habitat.

Moorland Birds: their history and future

Red backed shrike

Meadow Pipit

This project aims to protect and celebrate Dartmoor’s special moorland birds. Many of our British upland birds are under threat, facing population declines and loss of habitat.

Through this project we will learn more about the moorland birds on Dartmoor, their populations, their habitat, and what can be done to ensure their future on Dartmoor. We will celebrate moorland birds, and share the story of their lives and history on Dartmoor.

The project’s original focus was to be on the red-backed shrike. This rare and unique bird bred on Dartmoor in the two years prior to the start of this project, after nearly twenty years of absence from the British countryside. Sadly, it has not returned to the Moor since the start of the Scheme, so the focus has shifted to encompass other key moorland species such as the Curlew, Ring Ouzel, Dartford Warbler, Meadow Pipit, Snipe and Whinchat.  In 2016 Moor than meets the eye supported a moorland breeding bird survey that was undertaken by the RSPB with the help of specialist volunteers. Additionally in 2015/6, as part of the Scheme, the RSPB held five public events and also attended the Dartmoor Festival of Wildlife at Yarner Wood.  The Moorlands Birds project will protect, conserve and interpret key species on Dartmoor by:
  • Completing the analysis of the moorland birds breeding survey and sharing this important data with partner organisations, farmers, landowners and the local communities
  • Appointing a special land-advisor whose work will be informed by the results of the survey. This role will work in co-ordination with other moorland bird initiatives and organisations to help farmers and land-owners develop best agri-environmental practices for important habitats
  • Continuing to working with the public  through walks and talks to the local community and offering training events for local volunteers and volunteer rangers
  • Sharing the historical, cultural and conservation stories of the moorland birds with visitors and the local community through interpretation at Haytor Visitor Centre

Want to know more?

Speak to Fiona Freshney, Moorland Birds Adviser, RSPB
Tel: 01392 432691

Read more?

Moorland Birds Project Proforma - Revised January 2017

Moorland Breeding Bird Survey Report 2016

Related Articles

Bat Diary part 7

After a busy summer, Bristol University bat researcher Andy Carr and some dedicated volunteers got together at the Woodland Centre in Yarner Woods to review the Bovey Valley barbastelle bat tracking project. It all started back in April when the team of volunteers began training in the use of radio tracking and data recording equipment. Andy then set up a series of trapping nets to capture and tag bats and all was going well until the Dartmoor weather intervened. With various cold and unsettled spells the mist nets and harp traps were not quite as effective as had been hoped for. He initially wanted to track 30 of these rare woodland bats but, through 25 capturing nights, only 19 barbastelles were caught. It was not an entirely gloomy outcome though because there were many useful results and a lot of local habitat information was gained.

Read more

Develop your EcoSkills

Are you a graduate wanting to gain experience in wildlife conservation? Fancy joining Moor than meets the eye and our friendly team here at East Dartmoor for a whole year? Then this could be the opportunity for you..We're hosting a year-long structured training programme for 4 graduate volunteers who want to consolidate their skills and knowledge in applied conservation management. More information available here:…/conservation-assistant-candidate-pack-…

Read more

Bat to the future

The Moor than meets the eye Barbastelle Bats project in the Bovey Valley Woods (part of East Dartmmor NNR) is still helping scientists understand more about bats to help with future conservation. Last year researchers from Bristol University led a bat radio tracking project to look at these rare creatures. This summer Dr. Orly Razgour, a research fellow from the University of Southampton has started to survey these East Dartmoor bats as part of her European-wide genetic research project on bat responses to global climate change. So far, Dr. Razgour has gathered information on barbastelles from Morocco to Sweden and, for a few nights in August, she brought her survey equipment to the Bovey Valley Woods. You can read the whole story on our blog

Read more

Last update: 21 Feb 2018 9:56am