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Wanted: Loving couple to live free of charge in exclusive Hampstead Heath home

PUBLISHED: 08:00 25 January 2013

Hot property: View of the new Kingfisher nesting bank on Hampstead Heath. Picture: Polly Hancock

Hot property: View of the new Kingfisher nesting bank on Hampstead Heath. Picture: Polly Hancock

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Property prices are up and the winter is biting - it's not a good time to be house hunting in London.

(From left) RSPB project manager Rachel Evans, Hampstead Heath conservation ranger Ian Shepherd and lead ecologist for Hampstead Heath Meg Game, with the new Kingfisher nesting bank. Picture: Polly Hancock(From left) RSPB project manager Rachel Evans, Hampstead Heath conservation ranger Ian Shepherd and lead ecologist for Hampstead Heath Meg Game, with the new Kingfisher nesting bank. Picture: Polly Hancock

But one lucky couple have just been built a brand new home on Hampstead Heath.

Two kingfishers are expected to move in to their new premises in the coming year after conservationists and ecologists put the finishing touches to the nest bank this week.

However the birds are notoriously difficult to please. They hate sharing with other couples and can’t be satisfied with just any old property.

But Hampstead Heath and the Heritage Lottery Fund have stepped in to build them the perfect home.

Ecologist Meg Game told Heathman: “They’re quite particular about their nests, they need a bank that’s just soft enough and it also needs to be slightly camouflaged because they want a bit of seclusion.”

The birds’ long list of dislikes also includes harsh winters and conservationists are hoping they will move into their cosy new abode soon, made from breeze blocks, sand and grasses.

It is the second kingfisher bank to be built on the Heath and one of only a few places the fussy birds can live in the UK.

The species only nest near still or slow flowing waters and are particularly vulnerable to pollution and badly managed waterways.

There are less than 8,000 breeding kingfisher pairs in the UK, meaning their protection is a priority for the RSPB.

Rachel Evans, project manager for the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Wild About Hampstead Heath scheme said: “The kingfisher nest is really important because of getting a new audience involved with wildlife as well as providing habitats for British species.”

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