Bettisfield farmland bird project

Corn buntings have declined by 89 per cent since 1970 across the UK. In Wales, they could now be extinct following the Countyside Council for Wales Challenge Fund-supported survey in 2008 where no birds were found.

Corn Bunting Recovery Project, Cornwall

Overview

It is likely that possibly a few singing males are still holding out on the Welsh side of the border. With a viable breeding population of corn buntings across the border from Bettisfield in Shropshire, this could possibly be a source for recolonisation of Wales. It is important that we take action now to provide habitat for corn buntings if we are to stand a chance of once again seeing them regularly in this area. 
 
Data gathered during the 2008 survey on agricultural management within the area can be compared to measures known to be beneficial to breeding corn buntings. This will help us to understand why corn buntings have declined and what needs to be done promote their recovery.
 
The Bettisfield area is also important for many other declining farmland bird species like tree sparrows, yellowhammers, lapwings and yellow wagtails. It is likely that work carried out in the area to benefit corn buntings may also help one or more other species.

Objectives

  • To analyse issues contributing to the decline of corn bunting in Wales.
  • To work with farmers and landowners to provide habitat for corn buntings and other farmland birds.
  • To provide training, support and advice to other organisations such as Biodiversity Officers from the local council.
  • To raise awareness locally of the plight of the corn bunting (and other key farmland birds in the area).
  • To help achieve the Welsh Assembly's Local Biodiversity Action Plan (LBAP) target of more than 10 singing males by 2020.

Key Dates

  • Countryside Council for Wales Challenge Fund-supported survey carried out in 2008 with no singing males found.
  • Mapping of local area done to determine extent of habitat available to corn buntings, and what could be put in place to aid their recovery.
  • Contact made with local landowners to promote habitat management for corn buntings and other farmland birds.

Planned Work

We hope to begin work with a couple of farmers this year to provide habitat for corn buntings. We are also making contact with other stakeholders such as the Welsh Assembly’s agri-environmental scheme (Tir Gofal) Project officers, and Biodiversity Officers from the local council to discuss joint working for farmland birds.

Results

So far, only the results of the 2008 survey – but we hope to begin working with landowners and farmers to manage habitat for corn buntings and other farmland birds soon – so watch this space!

Funding

Core funded (except for initial survey which was supported by CCW Challenge Fund).

Contacts

Coast on a stormy day

Lesley Fletcher

Conservation Officer, Advisory

lesley.fletcher@rspb.org.uk
Tagged with: Country: Wales Habitat: Farmland Species: Corn bunting Species: Lapwing Species: Tree sparrow Species: Yellow wagtail Species: Yellowhammer Project status: Ongoing Project types: Species protection