A threatened bird that was ringed as a chick returned to the same nature reserve to rear her young.

The five-year-old lapwing, a wading bird that breeds on farmland, successfully fledged four young of her own at the RSPB Pulborough Brooks reserve this year.

She was marked with a unique identification as a chick at the site in 2018.

Lapwings have seen population declines in recent years and are now red-listed in the UK as a bird of conservation concern.

The Argus: Lapwings are seen near the water at Pulborough BrooksLapwings are seen near the water at Pulborough Brooks (Image: RSPB)

Pressures of agricultural changes and land drainage mean the habitat suitable for breeding wading bird species such as lapwing has been lost across England.

However, thanks to beneficial conservation management at RSPB Pulborough Brooks this species has found an ideal spot to raise a family. 

The chicks of many wading birds feed on an invertebrate rich diet and it is the seasonal water pools in wetland habitat that provide an ideal breeding site for their prey.

The drying up of these remaining precious habitats before chicks have fledged is a major threat for survival of the species.  

Anna Allum, visitor experience manager at RSPB Pulborough Brooks, said: “It was heart-warming to see a lapwing that had been ringed here as a chick choose to raise her very own family at the reserve. It was such a special moment to witness her four young chicks grow day by day before taking their first flight over the wetlands. 

“At RSPB Pulborough Brooks, staff and volunteers work hard to maintain this precious wetland habitat for wildlife so there’s nothing better than seeing a species choosing to return here. We’re continuing to work across RSPB reserves in Sussex to provide spaces where nature and people can thrive.” 

Pulborough Brooks in the Arun Valley is set in one of the richest areas for nature in the country. With lapwing displaying acrobatically in the sky in spring to whirling flocks of wading birds and wildfowl in winter, it supports a vast array of species.

  • RSPB Pulborough Brooks is open daily and after a wild walk exploring the trails you can enjoy a stop off at the visitor centre, shop and café or discover the children’s play area. The reserve is open 10am-4pm, entry is free for RSPB members.