The First Ladybird Book of British Birds – #15 The Moorhen

It’s Day 15 of turning the pages of this 1950s Ladybird book to see what’s changed since it was published. Today; The Moorhen:

Ladybird Book of British Birds - The Hall of Einar

“The Moorhen is an extremely common bird on ponds and lakes, and even on big ditches.”

It certainly is. Here’s one with its distinctive red and yellow bill and white tail flash:

Moorhen - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

“You must have seen it, for this bird is equally at home on ponds in town parks.”

Here’s one I photographed in The Regent’s Park in central London:

I love this description of them as if they are a child’s toy:

“Moorhens swim in jerks as though someone was pulling them along with a bit of string, their heads bobbing up and down and also their white tails.”

Moorhen - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

How well are Moorhens doing in the UK? The long-term trend from 1970 to 2015 is a reduction of 27%. The Breeding Birds Survey from 1995 to 2015 shows a 12% decline. (From The State of the UK’s Birds 2017)

When will the decline stop? When we care enough to pressure the owners of our land and water to change their use of our land and water.

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