‘Big three’ key to farmland birds

FARMERS NEED to focus on three main factors when considering ways of helping farmland birds, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds has advised.

Providing birds with a safe place to nest, winter food and spring/summer food, could help reverse the decline of key species such as corn bunting, tree sparrow and lapwing, said the RSPB’s Andrew Gouldstone.

The entry and higher level environmental stewardship schemes can also be used to provide a variety of habitats to benefit certain species, he said.

For example, overwintered stubbles and reduced input arable systems can help birds such as the tree sparrow and grey partridge, he noted.

In order to highlight how the “Big Three” can be incorporated into farming, the RSPB will be running a series of free events across the country for agronomists and other farm advisors.

The first will be held at the Lancaster House Hotel in Lancaster on 8 November 2005, for advisers in Cumbria, Lancashire, Manchester, Merseyside and Cheshire.

Anyone interested in attending should email fabnw@rspb.org.uk. The event has been registered for BASIS CPD points.

Similar events will be held elsewhere over the next six months and anyone interested should keep an eye on www.rspb.org.uk for future dates, added Mr Gouldstone.