RSPB warns chicks at risk as wetlands dry out

After the driest spring for a century in parts of England, chicks of wetland birds are at risk as their habitats dry out, the RSPB warns.

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The dry weather is putting the chicks of wading birds at risk, said the RSPB.

Parts of England have had the driest spring for a century and wetland reserves in Kent, Sussex and Essex are very dry, according to the charity.

Water policy officer Phil Burston said: "Wader chicks feed on insects along the edge of pools, but the pools are drying out and insects are scarce."

He called on the government to be "radical" in the water white paper to be published later this year.

Wetland reserves such as Pulborough Brooks in Sussex, Rainham Marshes in Essex and Elmley Marshes in Kent are very dry, and lapwing and redshank chicks are struggling to cope, the RSPB said.

Redshank With wetlands drying out, redshanks and lapwings struggle to find food.

"Our nature reserves are designed and managed to help wetlands and their wildlife cope with summer drought but this exceptionally dry period demonstrates the need for us to continue to adapt to a more unpredictable climate," said Mr Burston.

Mr Burton added that in rivers, ponds and lakes outside the RSPB's managed reserves, wildlife is struggling even more as a result of the lack of rainfall.

"It's vital that government is radical in setting out reforms for metering, tariffs, leakage and abstraction control in its forthcoming water white paper," he said.

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