A pair of Bee-eaters have bred at an undisclosed site in Greater Manchester but unfortunately on 20th July, it appears the birds abandoned and departed the area, possibly due to predation or some form of internal collapse of the nest burrow.
The birds first appeared in mid-June and quickly began breeding activity at a location which simply did not lend itself to large scale viewing, which would likely have caused disturbance to the birds. Discussions immediately took place with the most senior members of the RSPB Investigations Team who have dealt with all previous Bee-eater nesting attempts in the UK and under their expert guidance the news was supressed for the birds’ welfare. Further discussions and daytime nest watching and protection took place by a small but incredibly diligent team of local observers.
It is believed that the first chick(s) likely hatched around the 13th July and with that, The Head of RSPB Investigations had intended to attend the site with the local observation team on Saturday 22nd July with a view to plan and potentially implement some form of public viewing once it was believed all the chicks had hatched and were near to fledging, in order to reduce the potential for any disturbance. Unfortunately, it seems luck was not on our, or more importantly, the Bee-eaters’ side.
The site will remain confidential in the hope the birds may return next year and will get to a point where viewing may be permissible, but I would like to assure all observers that all possibilities for large-scale viewing prior to this point were considered but the birds’ welfare simply had to come first.