Spoonbills return to Norfolk

Holkham National Nature Reserve welcomed the return of eight breeding pairs of Spoonbills this year

common spoonbill, Platalea leucorodia

Holkham National Nature Reserve welcomed the return of eight breeding pairs of Spoonbills this year. 

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The breeding Spoonbills, part of a 40 strong group that are summering along the Norfolk coast, have been provided with an ideal nesting site.

The freshwater marshes are continually managed to create a supporting environment to assure their return over the following years. The nesting colony is ensured a safe haven whilst they look after their chicks thanks to the area being entirely surrounded by water, and a close supply of food available. It is this safe hold that has contributed to the 14 young successfully fledged this year, many of which are hoped to be yearly returners.

Regular monitoring of the birds and their progress allows the nature reserve’s staff to keep a log of the birds and their Holkham history, it is hoped that in the future the log will be a vital document to trace the bird’s life patterns. The staff have noted that six of the birds have different colour-rings indicating that they have flown from various sites around Europe, including nests in Holland, Germany and Spain.

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“The Reserve team have worked very hard to maintain ideal breeding habitats for birds, so it’s really satisfying to see the colony establishing itself – it means we’re getting things right,” says Michael Rooney, Natural England’s senior reserve manager at Holkham NNR. “We hope the spoonbills will join the rest of our breeding regulars by becoming an annual occurrence.”