Nightingale numbers remain constant at Highnam Woods

Image caption Nightingale numbers at Highnam Woods have remained constant over the past 12 months

The number of nightingales at a nature reserve in Gloucestershire has remained the same over the past year despite a national decrease in their population.

An RSPB spokeswoman said six singing males remained at Highnam Woods near Gloucester - the same as in 2012.

A recent survey showed nightingale numbers in the UK had dropped by more than half since 1995, with only about 6,000 singing males remaining.

The stability is due to the management of habitat, the spokeswoman said.

Hannah Morton from the RSPB in Gloucestershire said: "We've seen a decline of well over 50 percent over the last 10 years with roughly one singing male each year less than the previous year.

Image caption Gloucestershire is at the extreme north west range of the species

"So to have the same number this year as last year is actually a positive result."

Ms Morton said the stability was due to work that had been carried out at the 119 hectare (295 acre) reserve over the past year.

"We blocked an old drainage ditch within an area of coppice and held the water back this year, and we had a singing male right next to the work that we'd done there.

"It's not scientific but we do believe that the two are linked," she said.

Nightingales, which are attracted to scrubland, are found mainly in the South, South East and East of England during summer months.

Gloucestershire is on the very north west range of the species.

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