Fenland Farmland Bird Recovery Project
Populations of farmland birds across the UK have shown a dramatic decline over recent decades. Six species (corn bunting, turtle dove, grey partridge, lapwing, yellow wagtail, tree sparrow) have shown particularly severe declines and a marked reduction in their range.
Research has demonstrated that by providing nesting habitat, winter food and insect resources in sufficient quantities and with the correct management, the trend in farmland bird declines can be reversed.
The Fens area is a hotspot for farmland birds, and is one of only a handful of places in England where these six species are still recorded together.
The Fenland Farmland Bird Recovery Project provides free help and advice for farmers, their agents and advisors, to create and manage habitat for farmland birds and other wildlife via Environmental Stewardship.
Farmers are encouraged to adopt nature-friendly farming practices as part of a commercial farm business, benefiting a host of farmland species - including rare arable plants, water voles and bumblebees as well as declining farmland birds – while continuing to produce the high arable yields associated with the area.
- The project is based at our Ouse Washes nature reserve in the heart of the Fens, and is working with farmers in Cambridgeshire as well as parts of Lincolnshire and Norfolk.
- Aims to help farmers deliver valuable wildlife habitats through high quality Environmental Stewardship agreements
- Seeks to raise awareness in the farming community of farm wildlife, its needs and the challenges it currently faces.
Work planned or underway
We offer free one-to-one advisory visits to help farmers decide the best way to manage their land with wildlife in mind. Free surveys are available for farms in core areas, to identify the presence of important target species and provide support for Environmental Stewardship applications. Free help with the Environmental Stewardship application process ensures delivery of high quality agreements containing a package of options that benefit farmland birds and other wildlife, and are tailored to work on each individual farm.
A series of free events for farmers are providing information on the needs of farm wildlife and how best to meet them under current Environmental Stewardship schemes.
Please contact the project officer to find out more about these free services.
The project was launched in March 2009, since when advisory visits have been given on over 35,000 ha of farmland. Around 500 farmers have attended project events many more have connected with us through shows, fairs and word of mouth. The project officer has helped Fens farmers put over 15,000 ha of land into Stewardship schemes.
Who to contact
Fenland Farmland Bird Recovery Officer
Natural England Countdown 2010 Biodiversity Action Fund 2008-2011.