On seven CRT farms we provide supplementary bird seed over winter to help our flying friends to survive.

Intensified farming practices, including the removal of vital food sources like hedgerows, have resulted in a steady decline in the population of farmland birds since the 1970s.

There is an alarming overall loss of more than 50% for ten species during this period. These species have earned a place on the Red List of Conservation Concern, and notably, over half of them rely on seeds as a primary source of winter sustenance. Included in this list are species like the tree sparrow, linnet, grey partridge, skylark, corn bunting, and yellowhammer.

How the CRT can help

Research conducted by the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust found that providing food at winter feeding stations boosted breeding numbers by a staggering 30% for both songbirds and farmland birds.

On seven of the CRT farms, we have a comprehensive programme of supplementary feeding, to entice a greater number of birds to our properties and provide crucial support during the harsh winter months. This initiative is of paramount importance, especially for farmland bird species facing a decline in survival rates.

Supplementary feeding serves as a vital food source for birds, bolstering their access to nourishment when natural sources of winter bird food have dwindled, and before they become available again in late spring. The importance of this continuous food supply cannot be overstated, as birds require sustenance throughout the year, and their struggle to find it often leads to them not being able to survive. By providing supplementary food, we offer a lifeline to declining farmland bird populations when their natural sources of seeds and grains are no longer accessible.

The results

We’re thrilled to report that the supplementary feeding programme at Lark Rise Farm has yielded remarkable results, attracting a diverse array of birds. Among the visitors to the feeding station are long-tailed tits, blue tits, great tits, greenfinches, goldfinches, chaffinches, robins, blackbirds, great spotted woodpeckers, and many others. 

Even more heartening is the frequent appearance of species classified under the Amber List (indicating moderate decline) such as dunnocks and reed buntings, as well as several Red List species facing significant challenges, including grey partridges, skylarks, starlings, linnets, and yellowhammers. Additionally, during the evening hours, a barn owl often graces us with its presence, drawn by the prospect of small mammals attracted to the feeding station.

How you can help

During four winter months about £100 per month is spent on each of the seven farms that have supplementary feeding programmes in order to allow our feathered friends to find a vital food source. We need your help to fund this.

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Wildlife blog: Winter feeding makes the difference