RSPB Scotland is looking for land managers with “Crex Appeal”

RSPB Scotland is looking for land managers who would like to work with us to help legendary Corncrakes. Corncrake Calling is a large project that aims to increase the bird’s happiness and raise awareness of its “Crex Appeal”. Crex Crex is the Latin name of the bird.

The Corncrake Calling project has added Louise Muir to the team as a consultant for the conservation of the Argyll Islands Corncrake. She is now looking for local partners in the region.

Funded in part by the generous support of the National Lottery Heritage Fund and managed by RSPB Scotland, this four-year project will work closely with land managers, local communities and the national audience to give these iconic birds the best possible chance of future success.

The project will only be successful in collaboration with farmers, crofters and land managers and RSPB Scotland seeks to work closely with them.

Much of the Argyllidae landscape, and associated species and habitats, is the result of a long interaction between landforms and low intensity agriculture.

Corncrake, Copyright Dean Eades, from the Surfbirds Galleries

The corncrake was once heard across Britain, but in 1993 the British population was only 480 and was restricted to the Hebrides. RSPB has worked with farmers, crofters and other national organizations for decades and strong partnerships have been formed. Between 1993 and 2007 the population grew significantly and was an important success story for evidence-based protection and for agri-environmental measures to promote species protection. In 2017, the UK population had reached 1,305. More recently, however, the bird’s fortunes have declined, and the number for 2019 is 870 calling men.

Corncrakes rely on farmers and crofters to provide them with the right conditions to breed and successfully raise chicks. When the birds return from winter in Africa, they need a long vegetation to hide in. This long vegetation is perfect for hiding nests and raising chicks, and later in the season for cutting silage and hay crops in a “corncrake-friendly” manner that allows multiple broods to live raised and flightless chicks to escape. Often times, small changes in agriculture and arable farming practice can make a big difference.

The current political climate creates great uncertainty for agriculture across the UK, and the islands’ geographical periphery may exacerbate this. This is a crucial time for marginal agriculture and the biodiversity it supports.

The Corncrake Calling project aims to build on the successes of the past by not only implementing further management for Corncrake, but also promoting sustainable land management practices. Using this loud, rare bird as an ambassador for the conservation of the various species and habitats found in low intensity farming systems.

If you are a land manager in the Argyll Islands and feel that you could provide corncrake-friendly land management, or would like further advice on corncrake management or other biodiversity concerns on your land, please contact Louise Muir at louise.muir @ United Kingdom. If there are any community members who would like to do their part to help support some of our amazing wildlife, please contact us. Volunteers will also play an important role in making this project a success!


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