Cuckoo decline, but Redbridge bucking the trend

A birdwatching group which tours the borough’s beauty spots has reported up to ten sightings of cuckoos despite an unexplained national decline.

According to scientists, cuckoo numbers have plummeted by two thirds in the past 25 years and there are now only 7,000 breeding pairs which make annual visits to the UK from Africa.

But members of Redbridge Birdwatching say they have seen or heard the species in each of their four guided walks this spring.

The top venue is on the farmland surrounding Five Oaks Lane in Chigwell with six sightings.

There have also been cuckoos spotted at Fairlop Water’s golf course in Forest Road, Barkingside and in the forest near Hainault Golf Club in Romford Road, Hainault.


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Founder of the birdwatching group Daniel Erickson-Hull also said: “We have been lucky enough to see up to 10 cuckoos, both male and female, throughout spring so there’s certainly a fair few around.”

But he added the birds had been present in more areas but factors like development had seen them all head to a small pocket in the eastern part of the borough.

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Mr Erickson-Hull said the national decline was difficult to explain but thought there was a possibility the birds are not having much success when they migrate.

“Alternatively the juveniles born here might not be coming back and flying somewhere else in Europe,” he said.

Scientists are trying to solve the mystery and have fitted a number of birds with GPS tags to track their movements.

Mr Erickson-Hull said: “This is a useful plan as over time it will help build up an understanding of where they are going.”

The next guided walk will take place in South Park, off South Park Drive, Ilford today (Thursday June 23) and the group hopes to see Kingfishers.

Walks cost �1 which goes to charity and so far more than �70 has been donated to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

FFor more information call 07862 140 777, or email redbridgebirdwatching@hotmail.co.uk.

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