Singing out a dire warning
The nightingale has begun another breeding season in Kent – but for how long?
After spending the winter in Africa, one of our most beloved songbirds has returned to spend the summer here.
But the species is in dire straits. It may be an inconspicuous, little brown bird but the nightingale boasts a voice so powerful and of such beauty that few others can match it.
An annual highlight among many nature lovers is to visit a nightingale breeding site in late spring/early summer and marvel at the incredible song that, on quiet nights, can travel for miles. In late 2015, the species was listed as critically endangered on the UK Red List.
The highest densities are found in the South East, with Kent as their stronghold.
However, this formerly widespread species has been in steep decline for decades and every year sees the number of birds returning to breed drop even further.
In the last 40 years, the UK has lost more than 90% of the breeding population of nightingales.
Martin Jensen of the RSPB said: “This fantastic species needs all the support and protection it can get.”