Becoming bird aware

A new initiative has been unveiled as part of a partnership to protect vulnerable birds that spend the winter on the Solent.

Over 90,000 waders and wildfowl migrate to the Solent each winter from as far away as Siberia. This makes the Solent coastline of worldwide importance for birds. When people visit the coast, they may prevent the birds from feeding if they disturb them.

This can mean the birds do not have enough energy to survive the winter and fly back to breed at their summer habitats.

The Solent Recreation Mitigation Partnership of local authorities and conservation bodies has created the 'Bird Aware Solent' campaign to help coastal visitors be aware of the vulnerability of migrating birds.

As part of the campaign, a team of rangers and a  new website  will guide coastal visitors on which birds to look out for and how best to avoid disturbing them. . The website also has information about forthcoming educational events around the coast.

Welcoming the launch, Partnership Chairman Councillor Seán Woodward, said: "I would encourage everyone to look at this bright new website which contains lots of interesting facts. It's good news too, as these initiatives, including the ranger service, are funded by house builders at no cost to council taxpayers."

Notes for editors

The Solent Recreation Mitigation Partnership was established in 2014. It comprises all 15 local authorities around the Solent, Natural England, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, and Chichester Harbour Conservancy. The authorities are: Chichester District Council, East Hampshire District Council, Eastleigh Borough Council, Fareham Borough Council, Gosport Borough Council, Hampshire County Council, Havant Borough Council, Isle of Wight Council, New Forest District Council, New Forest National Park Authority, Portsmouth City Council, Southampton City Council, South Downs National Park Authority, Test Valley Borough Council, Winchester City Council.

All the Partnership's activities are funded from a payment - called a 'developer contribution' - of £176 for each new home built around the Solent. This figure will rise to £181 on 1 April 2017.

The waders and wildfowl for which the Solent is internationally important are: Bar-tailed Godwit; Black-tailed Godwit; Dark-bellied Brent Goose; Dunlin; Grey Plover; Little Egret; Redshank; Ringed Plover and Teal.