Management of RSPB Minsmere Reserve reedbeds and its impact on breeding Bitterns

The Bittern Botaurus stellaris is one of the UK's rarest breeding birds, with, in recent years, a population of around 20 booming males restricted to 12 or so breeding sites (Smith & Tyler 193; Gilbert et al. 1999). Bitterns were extinct in Britain at the end of the 19th century but returned early in the 20th century,