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​​​​​​​Solent birds follow their own roadmap

March 2021

As we all prepare for coming out of lockdown, birds along the Solent coastline are preparing for their next stage – migrating across the world to their own breeding grounds. Bird Aware Solent has been promoting their importance to the public – and the need not to disturb them as they prepare for their epic flights – throughout the winter. Now, as we start to come out of lockdown restrictions, many species of birds are almost ready to head from our coastline in great numbers to Iceland, Siberia and more.

Although Bird Aware Solent’s rangers have not had their usual presence on the coastline (due to lockdown) to inform the public about the fabulous bird species on our coastline – and how important it is not to disturb them – people have been using and appreciating the coastline more than ever.

Enjoying the beauty and variety of the Solent is something we can all do. However, it is vital we do this without disturbing the birds on our coastline. Many endangered species – such as Curlew and the Black-tailed godwit- can only feed at set times between tides and are utterly reliant on the rich food source of our intertidal areas to build up enough reserves for their spring migration. Human disturbance at this time can literally mean the difference between basic survival and successful breeding.

Bird Aware Solent hopes the public will help ensure the birds can prepare for their migrations by following three simple steps:

Look out for birds at the coast – be aware of your surrounding whilst enjoying them!

Move further away if they become alert – recognise the early signs of disturbance such as birds looking up or moving away from you – this signals you are too close.

We can all share our shores with wildlife – understanding the needs of our coastal birds doesn’t stop people from enjoying the many benefits of the Solent at the same time!

Whilst these winter visitors leave our shores, it becomes the time to turn our focus to the needs of the summer birds who choose this magnificent location to build their nests and raise their young. Please stay vigilant on the coast and share our shores with wildlife, follow instructions on signs and avoid sensitive fenced areas, so that these protected species can thrive whilst we progress on our roadmap to a more usual way of living too.

“We appreciate the public’s support in protecting our internationally important coastline.” said Councillor Seán Woodward, Chairman of the Partnership for South Hampshire (a body that oversees Bird Aware Solent). “In these difficult times, we have all appreciated the beauty – and the mental health benefits – of our Solent shoreline. I ask for the continued support of our residents in safely enjoying the coastline whilst respecting the needs of our various bird species who rely on the Solent for their survival”.

Solent birds follow their own roadmap