Nottingham

Attenborough Nature Reserve fruit pickers endanger chicks

Visitors to a Nottinghamshire nature reserve have been told to stick to the footpaths after blackberry pickers disturbed nests at the site.

Three whitethroat chicks were killed by predators at Attenborough Nature Reserve when their nest was exposed by people trampling on nearby vegetation.

Fruit pickers had previously been welcomed as they stopped brambles covering grassland habitats.

But this year the fruit has ripened during the peak bird breeding season.

Attenborough Nature Reserve's Tim Sexton said: "Whilst we understand blackberry picking is a fun activity, our priority is to protect the wildlife.

"Bird nests are protected by law, so we are asking visitors to the reserve to keep to the footpaths at all times and not to trample the brambles or any other vegetation."

Bramble scrub acts as a prime nesting habitat for common whitethroat, dunnock, and grasshopper warblers at the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust reserve, said Mr Sexton.

The dense spiky bushes protect young chicks from predators such as crows and weasels.

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