ONE of the UK’s most threatened species of bird is finding a safe haven on the North York Moors.
Parts of the national park are seeing steady numbers of ring ouzels, bucking a trend elsewhere in the country where their population has fallen sharply. A 1999 study put the birds on a highest conservation concern list and the latest surveys are expected to show further national decline.
However, ornithologist Ken Hutchinson said the birds seemed to be thriving in areas of moorland sanctuary, with a record 14 nests and 23 territories monitored on Spaunton Moor, near Kirkbymoorside, last year. He said this was down to careful management and predator control.
The moor’s owner, George Winn-Darley, who is the North York Moors representative for the Moorland Association, said: “We are delighted such rare, endangered species have been given crucial help by our grouse moor management, and looking after our heather and controlling predators before and during the breeding season is clearly making a difference.”