Scotland’s farmers praised for supporting wildlife this winter12/12/2010 22:55:22 Bird -friendly crops help farmland birds battle the Big Freeze
December 2010. Scotland's farmland birds have been thrown a valuable lifeline this winter thanks to continued use of seed rich wild bird cover plots across the country.
For several species, such as corn buntings and yellowhammers, the lack of winter food has been a significant factor in their population declines. With Scotland experiencing one of its worst winters for over four decades, RSPB Scotland believes the use of wild bird cover has never been so important.
Successful wildlife farms
RSPB Scotland has had a number of reports of huge concentrations of farmland birds feeding from wild bird cover crops in various regions. They include:
Research suggests that 1-2 hectares of wild bird cover in every 100 hectares of farmland can sustain the local farmland bird population over the winter months, and RSPB Scotland are encouraging others to consider putting plots in for next winter.
13,000 feeding birds
Owner Douglas Brunton, who introduced two hectares of the wild bird cover earlier this year after joining an RSPB-led project to help corn bunting, said: "The original reason for the wild bird cover was to provide a nesting habitat and winter feed to support the corn bunting population of the area. The winter feed has been more successful than we ever anticipated and the counts of over 100 corn buntings seen feeding in the crop recently has been very pleasing. The huge flocks of other birds feeding there just shows how necessary this type of crop is when the weather is severe. It is good that we can fit these types of crops into our arable rotation."
For more advice on wildlife -friendly farming visit www.rspb.org.uk/ourwork/farming/advice