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Do your bit to protect birds


9:13am 7th April 2011

People walking their dog in the North York Moors National Park between now and the end of July are asked to do their bit to look after ground-nesting birds and their young by keeping their pet on a lead when out on the moorland. As many farms are also in the midst of lambing, the National Park Authority is also reminding people to keep their dogs on a lead near livestock.

To ensure dog-owners can still enjoy the North York Moors, the National Park Authority has provided details on its website of 25 walks where people can exercise their dog more freely. If you click here you will find a mix of coastal, countryside and woodland walks to choose from. All of the walks avoid moorland areas with the most sensitive wildlife, have few stiles to cross and largely avoid fields containing livestock.

Sarah Blakemore, the National Park Authority’s Access Officer, said:

“Dogs are naturally inquisitive and may mean no harm, but ground-nesting birds are easily scared and will fly away until the perceived threat has passed. This risks their eggs getting cold and not hatching or leaves the eggs or young at risk from predators. Also, a loose dog can frighten pregnant ewes and cause them to abort their lambs.

“We certainly don’t want to stop dog-owners enjoying the National Park but just ask that especially from March to July they take extra care to keep their dogs on a lead in sensitive areas or choose a walk where there is less chance of disturbing young birds and lambs.”

The North York Moors National Park is a haven for ground nesting birds such as golden plover, curlew, lapwing and merlin.

Michelle Lindsay, the RSPB’s conservation officer for Yorkshire, said:

“Many of the ground nesting birds on the North York Moors National Park are of conservation concern so it is vital they are given the best possible chance of breeding successfully, free from disturbance. We would urge dog walkers to exercise care and common sense during this important time for birds.”


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