THE first chicks of a songbird feared extinct have been recorded after a Scots charity eradicated rats left behind on a remote island by trade ships.

The South Georgia Pipit is the world's most southerly songbird and it is breeding again after the Dundee based South Georgia Heritage Trust carried out a cull on the island, a British Overseas Territory, in the middle of the South Atlantic Ocean.

Howard Pearce, former Governor of the Falkland Isles and former Commissioner of South Georgia. now based in Dundee, is one of the trustees.

South Georgia is famous for its rich wildlife but as sailors plundered the ocean for seals and whales, they unknowingly brought with them the common brown rat which bred and for over 200 years feasted on the chicks and eggs of ground-nesting birds.

Alison Neil, chief executive the of South Georgia Heritage Trust, said: "The discovery of pipit chicks is thrilling news and shows the rapid beneficial effect of the Habitat Restoration Project on this threatened species.

"People had spotted pipits exhibiting breeding behaviour following the baiting work, but this is the first firm proof that they are nesting in areas from which they were previously excluded by rodents."