What we do
Image: Steve Round
The Romney Marshes are a very important area for farmland birds, owing to the presence of key species: grey partridges, corn buntings, turtle doves, tree sparrows, yellow wagtails and lapwings. In addition, there are populations of other red-listed species, including skylarks, yellowhammers and linnets.
The Romney Marsh Farmland Bird Project offers free advice to farmers across the Marshes to encourage them to provide these farmland birds with their three basic ecological requirements, the 'Big Three':
1. Safe, in-field nesting habitat
2. Insect-rich habitat to feed chicks in summer
3. Seed-rich habitat for food over winter.
Incorporating these habitats across the farm will also benefit other wildlife including brown hares, bumblebees and wildflowers.
We have a particular interest in tree sparrows in the area, because Romney Marshes and the surrounding area are through to be the last-known breeding colony(s) found on farmland in the South East. Exact population figures and breeding areas are not fully know, so we're gathering data on their distribution.
We'd like to capitalise on the success of winter feeding and nestboxes at RSPB Dungeness by setting up feeding stations and nestboxes across the Marsh where tree sparrows are present.
We will continue to offer free advisory visits and tree sparrow nest boxes to farmers across the project area, and will issue project updates as work progresses.
Please contact project staff if you own or manage land across Romney Marshes and would like a free advisory visit, and/or have tree sparrows on your farm and would be willing to host a winter feeding station or nestboxes.
Tree sparrows are communal nesters, so groups of boxes need to be erected in suitable habitat like patches of dense scrub and on quiet farm buildings. Feeders are best located in areas where tree sparrows are known to congregate in the winter, provided they are accessible for refilling.
HMP Rochester completed the construction of 50 tree sparrow nestboxes on our behalf. These boxes are now available to farmers across the Marsh with tree sparrows on their land.
Two farm sites offered to host tree sparrow nestboxes and winter feeding stations.
Fay PattinsonProject Officer - AgriculturalE-mail: email@example.com