Print page

Helping species

If you know which birds are on your farm, then you can find out what they need and how you can help them. You can also download advice sheets on how to help them using agri-environment schemes in your country.

Barn owl

Barn owls need rough grassland with an abundance of small mammals for hunting. In some areas they will also benefit from the installation of nesting boxes where natural nest sites or opportunities in farm buildings are not available.

Barn owl sitting on fencepost

Cirl bunting

Cirl buntings are sparrow-sized buntings related to yellowhammers. They need thick, tall hedges for nesting, a good supply of seed in winter and grasshoppers and other invertebrates to eat in spring and summer.

Male cirl bunting sitting in hedge

Corn bunting

Corn buntings are generally found on open arable and mixed farmland. They need a nesting habitat that remains available until the late summer, lots of seeds throughout the year, and insects and spiders to feed to their chicks in the spring.

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds


Curlews breed on open moorland, rough and damp pastures, unimproved hay meadows, and boggy ground; they occasionally use arable crops and silage fields. They need rough ground and tussocky vegetation for nesting from April to July and ground invertebrates during the breeding season.

Curlew feeding in grassy field

Grey partridge

The grey partridge can be found in most farming systems except predominantly improved grasslands. It needs insects to feed to its chicks in spring and summer, lots of seeds throughout the year and safe nesting cover.

Grey partridge in arable field


Lapwings can be found on all types of farmland, but are scarcer in purely arable or intensive grassland systems. They need bare ground or short vegetation for nesting from mid-March to June and lots of soil and ground invertebrates throughout the year.

Lapwing - adult female in breeding habitat pasture


Linnets are found on farmland wherever there is a plentiful supply of seeds throughout the year. They need lots of seeds throughout the year and thick hedgerows and scrub for nesting.

Male linnet in bush

Pink-footed goose

Internationally-important numbers of pink-footed geese now spend the winter in the UK. They feed in the arable farmland on post-harvest cereal stubbles, sugar beet tops and winter wheat crops. Damage to crops can be minimised with careful management

Pink-footed goose profile


Redshanks breed on wet grasslands on upland and lowland farms, and on saltmarshes. They need wet ground for feeding and grassland with a varied sward height

Calling redshank in meadow

Reed bunting

The reed bunting is found in a wide range of farmland types, but is rare in upland areas. It needs insects to feed to its chicks in the spring and summer, lots of seeds throughout the year and safe nesting cover

Male reed bunting singing in arable field

Ring ouzel

Ring ouzels breed on moorland and often use in-bye grasslands for feeding. They need mature heather or bracken on steep rocky slopes for nesting and short-grazed grassland for feeding.

Male ring ouzel, Cairngorms National Park, Scotland


The skylark can be found on all types of farm. It needs seeds and weeds throughout the year, insects and spiders in the spring and summer and nesting habitat to produce up to three broods every year

Skylark in song-flight


Snipe breed in wet flushes on moorland, damp pasture and at the edges of watercourses. They need wet ground and tall vegetation for nesting from April to July and soft, damp soil for feeding.

Snipe in mud at edge of pool

Song thrush

Song thrushes are associated with thick hedgerows, native woodland and damp ground, especially grazed pasture. They need lots of earthworms and snails, safe nesting habitat from March until August and hedgerow fruit in the autumn.

Song thrush looking for worms

Tree sparrow

The tree sparrow is generally found on lowland farmland with arable or mixed farming. It needs insects and spiders to feed to chicks in the spring and summer, lots of seeds throughout the year and holes for nesting

Tree sparrow perching on old farm building

Turtle dove

The turtle dove occurs on arable and mixed farmland that offers suitable nesting habitat.

Turtle dove in flight


Twites breed on moorland fringes in the upland areas of northern England and Scotland. They need an abundance of seeds throughout spring and summer and tall ground vegetation for nesting.

Adult twite perched on branch

Yellow wagtail

The yellow wagtail is a summer visitor to the UK, arriving in April and leaving in September to winter in sub-Saharan Africa. They nest on the ground in will breed in spring and autumn-sown crops, hay meadows and on wet grassland, although arable farmland now holds the largest numbers.

Yellow wagtail in winter wheat


The yellowhammer is widely distributed on all farmland types. It needs thick hedges with ditches or wide margins for nesting, lots of seeds throughout the year and insects and spiders in the spring and summer

Yellowhammer perching in hedge