Sutton Hoo: An antiquated method aims to increase the number of nightingales


An important archaeological site is planning to increase the nightingale population using an old woodland management system.

In the Netflix movie The Dig, which is about the 1939 excavation of an Anglo-Saxon burial ship at Sutton Hoo in Suffolk, the songbirds are mentioned.

To promote new tree growth, the National Trust, which manages the area, plans to reintroduce coppicing.

It stated that its goal was to offer the "ideal nesting habitat.".

King Raedwald, who ruled East Anglia in the seventh century, is believed to have died and been buried at Sutton Hoo.

Rory Lomax, a fictional character in the film The Dig, relates to archaeologist Peggy Piggott how the sound of a nightingale makes him think of the nearby woods.

Coppicing works taking place at Sutton Hoo, Suffolk
Using the coppicing method, trees are regularly cut down to the ground, which promotes quick new growth.

In the last 50 years, the species' population has decreased by 90%, leaving about 5,500 breeding males.

It is now included on the RSPB's red list as one of the UK's most endangered bird species.

The coppicing method, which has roots in the Stone Age, entails regularly cutting trees down to the ground to promote quick new growth of shoots.

According to the trust, it will be the first time the method has been used there since the Great Storm in 1987, when the majority of the original woodland was cleared for development.

The procedure, according to National Trust ranger Jonathan Plews, would allow more light into the forest floor, boosting flowers and bramble—the "ideal nesting habitat for nightingales.".

There are only a few nightingales at the moment, and they only inhabit one small patch of woodland on the estate, he added.

"We discovered four singing males at Sutton Hoo last year, and we anticipate attracting many more through this method of woodland management. ".

Coppicing works taking place at Sutton Hoo, Suffolk
The coppicing, according to the trust, will be done with chainsaws and a mini tractor to minimize disturbance to the woodland floor.

Mr. Plews predicted that it would "take a few years for the bramble to establish," but they anticipated that more nightingales, as well as other protected and endangered birds like the spotted flycatcher, woodlark, and nightjar, would be visible "in about four years.". ".

The trust stated that in order to minimize disturbance to the woodland floor, the coppicing would be done using chainsaws and a mini tractor.

This would safeguard the historical sites in the forest, including a Roman quarry and an anti-aircraft emplacement from World War II.

The wood that was cut down would be used to construct the estate's fences, gates, benches, and sculptures, as well as birdhouses to support additional endangered species.

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