Farmland bird declines are not a new issue but many species, including Skylark, are still disappearing and others are showing no sign of recovery. Our farmland birds continue to struggle despite the measures that have been implemented to halt their declines. More research is urgently needed to understand why there has only been limited success so far.
We want to carry out the second generation of research to find solutions that work for farmland birds, and farmers, to reverse the declines. We hope to identify how farmland birds are using the agri-environment scheme (AES) measures that have been designed to help them and find out why they aren't leading to the expected recoveries of farmland bird populations.
How are birds adapting and interacting with changing land-use, climate, predators, competitors, parasites and disease? What is it about some options that produces negative effects on Skylarks? Are features being used as they were designed to be used? How is breeding success being affected by novel croping, land-use and management?
Using new and novel techniques, such as tracking and camera trapping, and by combining the BTO's traditional strengths of volunteer-led and professional science, we aim to find out.
How you can help
More than 60% of countryside is farmland. Agri-environment schemes are the approach to providing management schemes to improve the farmed environment. With even less funding available for research and development of these, we need your help to carry out this work to understand why the AES measures aren't delivering results and find solutions that work for farmland bird species.
Thanks to all of you who have taken the time to respond to us by email and letter following the launch of the Farmland Appeal. It's not been possible to reply to each and every one one of these individually but we have put together a page which looks at the most frequently raised issues.