Much has been written over the last month or so about the impact of the cold snap that we've been having in the UK on our bird life. Much of it has been fear as to the impact that the weather may have in reducing bird numbers, but it seems that the impact on bitterns is in the opposite direction.

Bitterns are generally very secretive birds that are hard to spot as they stalk through reeds looking for fish. Part of the same family as herons, they are most known for the booming sound that the male makes in the spring. 

This year's cold weather has resulted in record numbers of bittern coming to the UK from Northern Europe (where it's been even colder still) and some have also been spotted outside of their usual reed bed habitats. The white back ground and frozen water in their usual feeding places means that spottings have even come in of some being seen in people's back gardens and one sighting on top of an office block. 

Out of concern for the birds, some reserves have taken to feeding the bitterns (and herons) sprats in recent weeks as it is thought that many may not have been able to fish for themselves. Cold weather has previously resulted in reductions in the number of heron family members and wardens will be watching with interest to see how the number of bitterns changes over the next twelve months.

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