3% Decline in Recorded Numbers of Corncrakes

In 2022 the calling of only 824 Corncrake males was recorded in Scotland compared to 850 in 2021.

Corncrake by Claire Pegrum – Lewis

This continues the downward trend which has seen numbers drop from 1289 in 2014.

Corncrakes migrate to Scotland every summer from Africa. They used to be found across the UK but changes in agricultural practices in the 19th and 20th century saw their range and numbers contract to just a few isolated pockets in Scotland.

The Scottish Government provides agricultural payments to farmers and crofters to manage their land in corncrake friendly ways. These include: planting vegetation to provide the birds with cover, delaying mowing, and mowing fields from the inside out to allow birds hiding in the crops to escape to the edges.

RSPB Scotland is calling on the Scottish Government to increase and improve the support farmers and crofters receive in order to protect the Corncrake. Agriculture Bill Consultation – Orkney

Chris Bailey, RSPB Scotland’s Advisory Manager said:

“Whilst the 2022 survey results are only a slight reduction from the year before, it’s really concerning that overall corncrake numbers are down by a third since 2014. We’re at a crucial point for helping the species and it’s vital that the farmers and crofters whose land they depend on are supported properly.

“Scottish Government has the ambition to be a global leader in sustainable and regenerative agriculture. It is currently consulting on proposals that will shape how farm funding is spent in future and intends to introduce new legislation to make this possible. We urge everyone who wants to see more of this funding used to support nature and climate friendly farming to sign the Farm For Scotland’s Future petition and let the Government know what you think.

“Since a new system of farm payments won’t be in place until 2026, the Scottish Government must continue to provide adequate funding in the meantime for the Agri-Environment-Climate Scheme which supports the management of farmland for corncrakes and other wildlife.”    

You can join Scottish Environment LINK’s campaign urging the Scottish Government to develop a new system of farm funding that works for nature, climate and people by signing the Farm For Scotland’s Future petition here.

Flickr: CORNCRAKE!!! Author Rachel Davies

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