The numbers of duck wintering on the Broads and other waterbodies across East Anglia are influenced by weather conditions. With climate change, we are seeing a series of increasingly mild winters. Under such conditions, many visiting wildfowl are 'short stopping' on their migration, which means that they are now wintering further north and east than they used to. If we get a particularly cold winter, with waterbodies elsewhere in Europe freezing over, then we will see the numbers of wildfowl here in the UK increase. Data from the Wetland Bird Survey, coordinated by BTO, have been used to provide scientific evidence of this phenomenon and of short-stopping, both for wildfowl and many wader species.
Picture by Elizabeth Dack