Firecrests in the Forest

The firecrest is one of Britain’s smallest birds. Not as widespread as the very similar goldcrest, firecrest breed in small numbers predominantly in southern and eastern England and for this reason is listed on the Amber list of the Birds of Conservation Concern. Areas of mixed coniferous and broadleaved woodland in Thetford Forest provides excellent breeding habitat and here the species is flourishing.

The beautiful firecrest in Thetford Forest

For the past couple of years we have been helping colleagues at the British Trust for Ornithology to colour ring firecrest in Thetford Forest. By colour ringing birds we hope to increase sightings rates of individual in order to understand their movements, their use of different habitats and recruitment to the population.

Male firecrest gets his bling

Spring is the best time to catch these birds as they have just arrived back in the forest, and spend long periods singing in order to establish and defend breeding territories. So this Sunday we headed in, dodging the April showers/hail storms, and listening intently for the distinct song of this charismatic species.

A few hours later, and our efforts had paid off…we had located four territories and caught and colour ringed four birds, three males and a female.

Male firecrest on the left, with the orange in the crest,
the female on the right with just yellow.

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