Bradley Stoke’s Willow Brook Centre has come under fire from birdwatching enthusiasts for chopping down around 20 rowan trees whose berries had attracted a flock of rare migrant waxwings over the winter months.
Just days after crowds of waxwing-seeking photographers in the shopping centre’s car park had made headlines in the Journal and been featured on BBC Radio Bristol, contractors at the site began felling the trees, resulting in a torrent of criticism on social media.
Birding enthusiasts noted that the centre management had previously welcomed their presence and praised their photos of the “beautiful birds”.
The Willow Brook Centre responded by saying that the rowan trees were being removed because they were in “poor condition”, with half their number having been removed two years ago and replaced with a species “more suited to poor drainage / little root space”.
In a more comprehensive statement published two days later on the Willow Brook Centre website, it was explained that tree surgeons called in to assess around a dozen rowan trees on the site had found them “dehydrated, undernourished and in a poor way”.
Centre manager Andy Wynn said:
“We fully appreciate it is a disappointment to cut down the trees, and therefore the habitat of these birds, however, given the condition of the rowans, we were left with no option but to remove them.”
More information and related links:
- Willow Brook Centre statement in full
- Waxwings in Bradley Stoke (Winter 2016/17)
- Bradley Stoke Rowangate
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