February 2014: Numbers of Corn buntings could increase if there is a change in farming methods say RSPB Scotland. Corn buntings used to be widespread throughout Europe, but are now one of the fastest declining farmland birds with just 800 singing males left in Scotland.
Most commonly associated with cereal cultivation, corn buntings would once have bred in hay meadows too, however intensification of farming, particularly a move to earlier mowing, has made this impossible across large parts of northwest Europe.
In northeast Scotland, silage and hay cuts remain late enough for birds to make nests in these fields. In fact, over the five year study, more than half of the nests started in May and June were in hay meadows. Sadly, more than two-thirds of these were then lost during June and July mowing.
Therefore RSPB organised a trial wherel19 farms across Aberdeenshire and Inverness-shire delayed their mowing until august 1. This delay made huge changes as less than five per cent of nests in meadows were lost, and overall breeding success increased by 20 per cent.