Wildlife flood threat
“IT’S GOING TO be a hard year ahead for our kingfishers,” says Canal & River Trust Environment manager Jonathan Hart-Woods, talking about the impact of the Boxing Day floods on waterway wildlife.
“Pollution levels always play a part in a flooding situation. You get the surface water run-off from surrounding roads and fields, as well as any larger pollution incidents such as sewage. You can see the silt and the litter in the water and in the vegetation with your own eyes.
“A lot of waterway birds are going to find it difficult to feed – kingfishers and herons need clear water to feed in. Our aquatic plants have all been disturbed, and that will have a ripple effect throughout the ecosystem of the waterways.
“Only a small percentage of young kingfishers survive every year, but they are going to find it especially hard this year. As well as the issues with feeding, we’re also going to find that some traditional nesting sites will have been washed away with the flooding. Kingfishers are territorial and like to return to the same nesting sites year after year, but that just won’t be possible for them now.”
And it’s not just birds – “The fast river flows caused by the flooding may well have caught out any young otters who couldn’t get themselves to safety,” warns Jonathan. “Ground-dwellers such as badgers and foxes may also have been trapped by rising flood waters which could have flooded their setts and dens.”
Visit canalrivertrust.org.uk to donate to the Trust’s flood appeal.