Bee-Eater Breeding
Bird Watching|October 2017

There was much speculation online about why a Bee-eater breeding effort in Nottingham had failed. Here, we attempt to get to the truth by speaking to those in the know…

 

John Miles

IN 2015, I WAS GIVEN the chance to watch the breeding Bee-eaters in Cumbria, only a 10-minute drive from my house. I was fascinated at such an exotic species nesting so close to home, and spent many hours watching them along with about 500 pairs of Sand Martins, and several predators including Hobby and a solitary Carrion Crow which had adapted to catch the martins in flight!

Two years later, the news of breeding Bee-eaters at East Leake (pictured below left and right), Nottinghamshire, was announced, with up to 100 people visiting the area before 28 June, when the press was told. A car park was set up with two fully employed RSPB staff manning the site, along with volunteers from RSPB, Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, Notts Birders Group, South Notts Ringing Group and others, too.

With seven Bee-eaters present, three pairs attempted to breed with a single ‘helper’ (Cumbria had seven birds too, but only two pairs and three helpers). By 20 July, one East Leake nest had hatched, followed by the other two, and things looked good.

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