As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Sunday 8 January 2017

Do Corncrakes Crex crex benefit from unmown refuge strips?

Do Corncrakes Crex crex benefit from unmown refuge strips?

Published online: 05 January 2017


Corncrakes Crex crex mainly breed in grassland, where they are threatened by mowing. Conservation requires delayed mowing or modified mowing methods. In large fields, it has been suggested that leaving strips of uncut grass may reduce mortality, especially of unfledged chicks. We attended mowing operations (2012–2015) in the Lower Oder Valley National Park in north-eastern Germany, where 10-m refuge strips were introduced. We documented the escape behaviour of adults and chicks and their use of refuge strips by observations and radio-telemetry. Flightless chicks crossed significantly shorter distances of mown area (< 20 m) than adults. When mowing from the outside inwards, chicks were not able to successfully escape to the field edge at > 31 m, adults at > 60 m distance to the edge and returned to the unmown block.


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