Page last updated at 19:52 GMT, Friday, 2 October 2009 20:52 UK

Geese breeding hits native birds

Birds in Hayle Esturary
The Hayle Estuary is home to more than 250 species of birds

Conservationists say they are concerned about large numbers of geese breeding in some Cornish nature reserves.

Many of the birds are not native to Britain and have bred with other breeds, creating hybrids.

Some birds have also been pushing out other species as they compete for nesting sites, the RSPB said.

The charity said it would be monitoring the situation in the county carefully to assess the impact of the foreign interlopers on native birds.

In west Cornwall, the Hayle Estuary alone is home to more than 250 species of birds, including ducks, waders, and the rare black kite.

Natives 'ousted'

Twenty years ago if a Canada goose was seen in the estuary, it was a rarity. Now they often outnumber other birds and have bred with farmyard breeds to create hybrids.

The RSPB said these were frightening off other birds.

Dave Flumm of the charity said: "This year we had hybrid geese nesting on an island here which has traditionally been used by a pair of oyster catchers.

"Oyster catchers are quite uncommon in west Cornwall and this is the only pair of the that we know of that have bred here successfully four years running.

"These were ousted by the geese."



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