Nightingale project

In order to understand why nightingales have declined by a staggering 90% in the UK over the last 40 years, we’re working with the British Trust for Ornithology and the Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire.

Grafham Water, one of our reservoirs, is an important place for this bird and our research will track their activity here and at other nightingale sites. In 2012, we fitted small geo-locators onto the backs of 20 male nightingales - three of which were from Grafham Water - giving us a better insight to the route they take on their migration to Africa.

As the technology improves, the tags have become more precise in recording the birds’ movements and whereabouts, helping us better understand their habitat needs and protect their environments.


Nightingales sing during the night so surveys at Grafham to map out their territories, run between midnight and 4am from mid-April to the end of May.


The table below shows how many singing nightingales have been found, their decline in recent years follows a national trend, confirming the importance of this research work.

Number of Nightingales found