Rare Bitterns Make a Splash in Derbyshire: First-Ever Baby Birds Spotted!

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The loudest birds in Britain are called bitterns. Guess what? They did something really cool in a wet place in Derbyshire. They had babies there for the first time ever!

Some nice people who love birds (we call them volunteers) saw a boy bittern and a girl bittern flying around a place that seemed like their home at Willington Wetlands in 2022. The boy bittern makes a super loud sound like a foghorn, and they heard that too.

The nature people in Derbyshire (they’re from Derbyshire Wildlife Trust) are super happy about this because these birds almost disappeared from the UK two times before. The bitterns are like part of the heron family and they hide in reed beds near water.

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A really long time ago, they disappeared from the UK because people hunted them and took away their homes. But they came back in the 1900s. Still, there weren’t many of them when people started counting in 1990.

In 1997, there were only 11 boy bitterns in the whole UK! That’s almost none. It almost happened again that they would disappear. But now, more of these birds are living here. In 2021, nice bird watchers found 228 boy bitterns in the UK.

At Willington Wetlands, the volunteers from RSPB heard a boy bittern making the foghorn sound in 2022. They also saw a boy and a girl bittern flying to and from a place that seemed like their home. This is good because it means they probably had babies there.

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The way scientists count these bitterns is by listening for the super loud foghorn sound during baby-making time. This sound can travel a really long way – up to three miles (that’s like 5 kilometres).

Henry Richards, who works with the nature people, said, “We are so happy that bitterns were found here at Willington, making their loud sounds and having babies. We hope they keep coming back to enjoy their homes by the water.”

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