Gritty diet vital to bearded tits at Silverdale nature reserve

Latest news.
Latest news.
0
Have your say

It’s not just councils that value grit as winter approaches - a North Lancashire nature reserve needs it for a very different reason.

The substance is vital to the bearded tits which live at RSPB Leighton Moss, Silverdale, particularly during colder months.

Like many birds, they eat insects throughout spring and summer, but switch their diet to eating the seeds of the reeds with the help of grit as the seasons change.

And as the largest reedbed in the north west is at Leighton Moss, the site provides the perfect place for them to live.

Richard Miller, RSPB Leighton Moss assistant warden, explained: “The bearded tits switch their diet so they don’t have to migrate like other insect eating birds.

“However, as they don’t have teeth, they eat the grit to grind up the hard reed seed so they can digest it. It might not sound particularly appetising to us, but for the bearded tits, it is a vital ingredient of their meals.

“Here at Leighton Moss, we want to continue to provide a home for these special birds, so alongside managing the reedbed, we put grit out on trays where the birds gather most mornings through October.

“This creates an ideal opportunity for visitors to the reserve to see these otherwise elusive residents, as October is the main month in which the bearded tits make the transition from eating insects to eating reed seeds.

“We put a lot of hard work into making the reserve the perfect home for the bearded tits and other wildlife that lives here, so it’s great when we can share something special like this with our visitors.”

The RSPB is working with a range of organisations to help reedbed-loving birds across the wider countryside in Morecambe Bay by restoring, expanding and connecting wetlands.

Visitors can look for bearded tits throughout October and a series of guided walks for bird twitchers are also planned.

For more information visit www.rspb.org.uk/leightonmoss