Red List Bird Species found at The Hawthorns

December 11, 2012

Following from the previous article which provided an introduction to the RSPB Volunteer and Farmer Alliance Project 2012 at The Hawthorns, this report is going to review some of the Red List Bird Species identified during the survey.  The Red status birds are those of high conservation concern and are species which have undergone more than a 50% decline in UK breeding population or range over the last 25 years, a historical decline from 1800-1995, or are species of global conservation concern. The RSPB also uses the amber status and green status lists but the species that cause most concern are those on the red list.

Ten Red status birds were identified at The Hawthorns during the survey.

The list comprises of:

Cuckoo, Dunlin, House sparrow, Lapwing, Linnet, Skylark, Song thrush, Starling, Yellow wagtail, Cirl bunting and Yellowhammer.

One of the reasons to account for the range of bird species on the farm is that many species rely on well-managed hedgerows and scrub habitats. Wide field margins are vital for birds to find insects to feed their young in spring and summer. The margins here at The Hawthorns demonstrate an excellent insect source through the number of species present, notably the whitethroat (amber species), yellowhammer (red species) and the willow warbler (amber species).

It was exciting to note that lapwings (or peewits, as they are sometimes called) which are red species were present on the farm. Lapwings look black and white at a distance but in good light it can be seen that they have a greeny purple sheen on their back. The male is characterised by having a spiky crest on his head.  In the breeding season lapwings prefer spring sown cereals, root crops, permanent unimproved pasture, meadows and fallow fields. They can also be found on wetlands with short vegetation.

Linnets were shown and briefly discussed in the last article about the RSPB Volunteer and Farmer Alliance Project 2012. They also belong to the red status bird list. The male linnet has a pinky patch on his head and breast during the breeding season. They are very dependent on seeds and even feed seeds to their small chicks. Oil seed rape which is grown on the farm provides a major food source for these birds and fallow areas can also form valuable seed sources. Wild bird seed cover which can be found on the farm is also enjoyed by these birds. Linnets like to nest in areas of scrub or thorny hedges which includes brambles.

The pictures shown here are again taken from the RSPB website.


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