Kingfishers bounce back in Thetford

No.:  2011-21
July 2011

After a hard winter, not one but two pairs of Kingfishers have made Thetford their home, and the town’s residents are being invited to see them.

Kingfisher by John Harding 

Brightly coloured Kingfishers excavate
metre long nest tunnels

Two pairs of Kingfishers have made their home within ten metres of each other at the British Trust for Ornithology’s (BTO) Nunnery Lakes Nature Reserve in Thetford. Earlier this year a bank was cut by the side of one of the lakes as part of conservation work carried out by the Nunnery Lakes Fishing Syndicate - within days of the bank being cut the first pair of brightly coloured Kingfishers began excavating their metre long nest tunnel and successfully raised a brood of youngsters.

To the delight of the BTO and the fishermen, they have begun a second breeding attempt, and have even been joined in the bank by a second pair. The BTO and the fishing syndicate have set up a viewing screen and are inviting people to come and see the Kingfishers for themselves.

Chris Gregory, BTO Nunnery Lakes Warden, said, “The fishermen carry out a lot of important conservation management work here on the reserve and it is great to be able to see this benefiting the wildlife. It was fantastic to see one pair of Kingfishers nest building in the new bank but to see two is amazing and I hope people will come and see them for themselves, and can see what a great job the fishermen do.”

He added, “Kingfishers feed on small fish that they catch in shallow water, during prolonged freezing conditions their numbers can plummet as the shallow waters freeze over and fish become inaccessible, so it is great to see them doing so well here in Thetford.”

The Kingfishers can be found by taking the footpath from the Nun’s Bridges onto the Nunnery Lakes reserve and walking to the first fishing lake where the viewing screen can be found.

Notes to editors

  1. Kingfishers can breed up to three times a year and produce up to 6 young per brood.
  2. A map of the BTO Nunnery Lakes reserve can be obtained from the BTO headquarters, The Nunnery, Thetford, IP24 2PU
  3. The BTO is the UK’s leading bird research organisation. Over thirty thousand birdwatchers contribute to the BTO’s surveys. They collect information that forms the basis of conservation action in the UK. The BTO maintains a staff of 100 at its offices in Norfolk and Stirling, who analyse and publicise the results of project work. The BTO’s investigations are funded by government, industry and conservation organisations.

Contact Information 

Paul Stancliffe (BTO Press Officer)
Office: 01842 750050 (9am to 5.30pm)
Mobile:  07585 440910 (anytime)
Email:  press [at] bto.org