The Ring Ouzel, Turdus torquatus, is a member of the Thrush family, but not the type you are likely to spot on your bird table! This distinctive bird, the males with their white breast band, are on the Red List in the UK and can mainly be found in upland areas.
The hardy hill ponies of Craig -Cerreg-Gleisiad create the perfect mosaic of short sward and heather for breeding Ring Ouzel. The heather provides shelter for nesting and the short sward is the perfect hunting ground for insects. Not to mention the pony poo which hosts its own community of prey insects.
The ponies are thought to descend from the herd of Welsh Mountain Ponies owned by W. S. Miller of Forest Lodge. This was the largest herd in the UK at the time of the foundation of the Welsh Pony and Cob Society in 1901. Forest Lodge is situated on the edge of the Nature Reserve.
In addition to the ponies, cattle and sheep also graze from May to October, creating a balanced scheme of grazing.
Find out more about conservation grazing here.