Scottish corncrake news, good and bad

This video is called The corncrake (Crex crex).

From the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds:

Corncrake populations are on the rise

Last modified: 05 October 2011

The population of one of Scotland’s rarest birds has increased- however its future hangs in the balance as Scottish ministers consider massive cuts to agri-environment schemes that provide vital wildlife support payments to Scottish farmers and crofters.

Recent counts of corncrakes, an elusive farmland species, carried out by RSPB Scotland, reveal the population rose this year thanks to a 20-year partnership between conservationists, government and crofters.

The count of singing corncrakes, restricted in the UK almost exclusively to north and west Scotland, rose to 1213, an increase of 45 on the previous year.

However, the wildlife conservation charity warns that the species’ fortunes will dramatically reverse if the proposed cuts, outlined in the recent Scottish Spending Review, are approved.

The Spending Review singled out Scottish agri-environment schemes for major cuts, amounting to 22% until 2015, an £11m reduction over the next 3 years on top of a £10m reduction already applied in 2010-11.

Corncrakes, once common across the farmed landscape in Scotland, suffered huge declines through the 20th century, reducing the population to just over 400 singing males in 1993. Research conducted by RSPB Scotland identified intensive agricultural production, especially early mowing of hay meadows and grazing of fields early in the season, as the cause of the drastic declines.

These declines have been reversed in recent years following the introduction of a successful conservation scheme that maintains vital habitat by offering financial support to farmers and crofters to manage their land in a way that is sympathetic to corncrakes

Since the start of the scheme, the Scottish corncrake population has more than trebled, reaching a high this year. This is largely down to efforts of the crofters and farmers working closely with RSPB Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage. Scottish Government agri-environment payments have allowed land-managers to care for hay meadows and field margins in a way that is sensitive to the species’ needs whilst recognising the costs to the farmer of doing so.

Nature Studies by Michael McCarthy: Ireland’s corncrakes – no longer in every acre: here.

Dutch corncrakes: here.

1 thought on “Scottish corncrake news, good and bad

  1. Pingback: Scottish buntings down, corncrakes up | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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