Yellowhammer Recovery Project
Yellowhammers in Northern Ireland have declined by 65 per cent since 1991. Consequently, it is red-listed on both the Irish & UK lists of Birds of Conservation Concern
- Do the arable options in the Northern Ireland Countryside Management Scheme (NICMS) actually work?
- Would targeted advice and uptake of these options see a farmscale recovery of yellowhammers and other declining seed-eaters?
- In winter 2005/6 CMS arable options already in place in east Co. Down were investigated to see if these arable options providing winter seed (wild bird cover, winter stubbles etc) supported more seed-eating farmland birds than land not in arable options.
- A similar option scale survey was carried out in the spring/summer 2006 to demonstrate that CMS arable options providing summer insect food (conservation cereal, rough grass margin) supported more yellowhammers and other seed-eating farmland birds than land not in arable options.
- The farm scale part of the project was launched in January 2006. 22 CMS farms and 22 control farms in east Co. Down joined the project, the aim of which, to demonstrate that the provision of both winter seed and summer insect food through CMS arable options, and with advice to the farmer, bring about a population response in farmland birds.
- A baseline survey of breeding birds was carried out on all 22 CMS farms and the 22 control sites in spring/summer 2006. A final follow-up survey was completed in the spring/summer 2011.
- Advisory work began in January 2006 and carried out on the 22 CMS farms only.