Willow Tit conservation using specially modified bird boxes and population census.
See film of willow tit nesting in fence post.(Poor quality film but from Newton).
Willow tit survey and instillation of modified bird boxes specifically for Willow Tits with support from the RSPB, National Trust Cotehele Rangers, Calstock Wetlands Bird Watchers Group, Calstock Parish Council and the BTO.
In Britain, the Willow Tit Poecile montana is in serious, long-term decline. Its population decreased by 94% from 1970 to 2012 (and by 83% from 1995 to 2012; Hayhow et al. 2014), while the breeding range has halved, from 1,200 occupied 10-km squares in the 1988–91 breeding atlas to just 558 in Bird Atlas 2007–11 (Balmer et al. 2013). The species’ distribution is now highly fragmented and within its remaining range population density is almost certainly very low.
In 2021 I found my first Willow Tit nest at Newton Farm. Mike Ingram from fwagsw and I recorded a tape and short film. The nest site was in a 12-year-old rotten fence post. Once I got my eye in, I found another old fence post that had been used as a nest. During 2021 I saw the Willow Tits every day if I spent an hour looking. In fact, they are very easy to find as they are noisy and don’t move around much.
It seems as though there might be a reasonably large under-reported population of Willow Tits in the Tamara valley. Hopefully we will raise awareness of the Willow Tits existence in the Tamar valley and help conserve this threatened population.