Alarming Decline in Corncrake Numbers

The RSPB 2019 survey results for corncrakes has shown an overall decline in numbers.

Corncrake by Claire Pegrum - Lewis

Only 870 calling male corncrakes were recorded in the core areas that are annually surveyed this summer, down from 897 in 2018

In the Outer Hebrides corncrakes continue to show an increase but elsewhere the decline over a 5 year period is of 30%.

To try and stem the decline the RSPB has launched SCALE – Saving Corncrakes through Advocacy, Land management and Education.Whilst it awaits notification of funding SCALE aims to :

  • support the need for government agri-environment schemes which are better for biodiverse wildlife including corncrakes
  • support crofters and farmers with funding, advice and practical support to farm in corncrake friendly ways
  • raise local and national awareness of corncrakes through local events, ecotourism support, web pages, social media campaigns, films and podcasts and a touring exhibition.

Chris Bailey, Advisory Manager at RSPB Scotland, said:

“The “crex crex” call of a male corncrake used to be one of the sounds of summer across the UK and it’s vital that it is not lost altogether from here. Corncrakes are a huge conservation priority in Scotland for RSPB Scotland, and for the Scottish Government under their Biodiversity Route Map.

“This year’s results highlight the essential support agricultural communities on Scottish islands provide to this rare and secretive bird by managing their land in a corncrake friendly way – they are the stronghold for this species and the support they receive must continue over the long-term if we’re to have a real chance at ensuring corncrakes continue to breed in Scotland every summer.

“We hope that our SCALE project will be awarded the full grant to allow us to undertake such work to improve the fortunes of the species in the future.”

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