A rare bee-eating bird is believed to be “on the verge of going dormant again” after it was thought to have been spooked by hunters on its first attempt in England.
The RSPB’s colorful birds have returned to courtship rituals, Even if a stoat is seen near the nest site.
“If they weren’t interested in rolling a nest, they would have left,” he says.
From bird conservation charity Mark Thomas, the European bee-eater trio – which includes a nesting pair – is believed to have started nesting as soon as they arrived.
They were seen repeatedly entering the same sand hole as last year, where the female was believed to be hatching eggs.
However, after the stoat appeared nearby, the bird’s behavior suddenly changed.
But in recent days, the bee-eaters have been seen flying to the same hole again.
“The fact that they’re connected to the quarry and going into the hole every day shows a second attempt,” Mr Thomas said.
“Then it’s just a matter of having enough time for the eggs to hatch and feed the young.”
Last summer, five chicks hatched successfully with three over the August Bank Holiday weekend.
Mr Thomas said last year’s events were “a bit behind what has happened”, adding that he expects the bee-eaters to leave by the end of the summer.
The species is commonly found in the southern Mediterranean and North Africa.
There have only been seven recorded breeding attempts in the UK over 20 years.
Mr Thomas said: “It’s amazing to see such an attractive bird and to see it colonize in England and do this in Norfolk.”
“For people who see it through their telescopes, this is a dream bird. People are very worried to see such a bright bird.
“But it’s a very serious sign of climate change.”
A Public viewing areaRun by the RSPB, it attracts around 250 people a day during the week, with more visits at weekends.
RSPB staff have been protecting the nest from foxes and badgers, as well as keeping the birds from being disturbed by humans.
There are 27 species of bee-eaters, mostly native to Asia and Africa.
The birds are known to migrate to southern Europe in late April to early June.
According to the RSPB, bee-eaters can be recognized by their red backs, blue bellies and yellow throats, about the size of starlings.
Bees also feed on wasps and other flying insects that they catch mid-air.
The viewing area is open to the public, with a charge of £5 per person which is earmarked to cover the cost of site monitoring and security.