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Early opening is for the birds: RSPB says nature reserves stay shut

© David Weyand/imageBROKER/Shutterstockrspb
Birds won’t be on view for a while

RSPB nature reserves will only reopen when the birds who live in them are ready to receive human visitors again, the charity warns.

The wildlife conservation charity closed its reserves in Scotland and across the UK on March 24 due to government guidance around the pandemic.

In a letter sent to members this week, RSPB chief executive Beccy Speight said that while people would be looking forward to heading out into nature as restrictions are gradually eased, its reserves would remain “closed for now”.

She said the charity had been “working in-step with all four of the UK’s country Governments” to build safe reopening plans.

She said the RSPB was “champing at the bit” to get reserves back up and running, but returning from lockdown “will not be easy and it won’t be simple”.

Ms Speight said: “The health and wellbeing of our employees, volunteers and all visitors to our nature reserves is our paramount concern. We also have to make sure the wildlife that calls our sites home are ready to receive attention after a couple of months completely on their own.With reports of rare species nesting on and near busy paths, it’s going to take us some time to make sure they are safe, too.

“We are also managing differences in approach to coming out of lockdown across the four countries of the UK, and possibly between regions too.

“Because of this, we will be taking a gradual and phased approach over the coming weeks and will only be opening individual reserves when we are absolutely confident we can do so safely.”

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds has more than 200 reserves, over 1300 staff and over a million members, whose support is vital to the charity’s work.

Thanking members for their patience and messages of support, Ms Speight revealed that sites would be opened at different times and with different levels of access and facilities.

She added: “While the pandemic is having a huge impact on our work and income, your brilliant support for our shared cause is a source of great strength for us all at the RSPB.”