Efforts to rewild London’s rivers are yielding results, finds report

Monday, January 4, 2021

Sightings of kingfishers in the capital have increased by 450 per cent since 2000, thanks to significant river restoration projects

The fleeting sight of a kingfisher flitting across the water has become more common in London over the last two decades thanks to ongoing efforts to rewild the city’s waterways.

That’s according to a report by the Catchment Partnerships in London Group (CPiL), which manages the city’s rivers. It found that sightings of the blue and orange birds have increased by 450 per cent since 2000, compared to the 20 years before.

Two inner-city boroughs that have seen significant river restoration projects – Lewisham and Tower Hamlets – both showed large increases in kingfisher sightings. Lewisham recorded just 27 sightings of the birds between 1980 and 2000, but reported 209 in the following two decades. Tower Hamlets, meanwhile, logged 11 kingfisher sightings pre-2000, but 130 since.

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