Cirl bunting

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The call of is one of magical British nature, in poetry But the State of the UK's Birds report also points to good news for some species, with recent surveys showing an increase of 15% in golden eagle numbers in Britain and a boost to rare cirl buntings, which now have more than 1,000 breeding pairs.
And cirl buntings, a sparrowsized bird found in South West England, has seen a remarkable turnaround in its fortunes following a 25-year project by the RSPB and local farmers to manage land in a way that supports the species.
Cirl Buntings sang on Bryn Pydew, a bird now found no closer than South Devon, while Corncrakes "were creaking in many localities", yet its nearest strongholds are now in the Hebrides.
It also pointed out that some species of farmland birds, including cirl buntings, stone curlews, goldfinch and whitethroat, have increased.
After a huge contraction in range and numbers (to a low point of just 120 pairs in 1989), cirl buntings have made a comeback that seems to ensure their survival, with almost 700 pairs at the latest count.
At the other end of the country, enthusiastic support from farmers, also pocketing subsidies from a Countryside Stewardship scheme, has helped the cirl bunting to recover from a straight line for the exit to a more secure position in England.
Their colleagues then persuaded government officials to help struggling Devon farmers get a better living, by paying them to farm in the only ways that gave the cirl bunting a living at all.
"The RSPB knows that changes to the CAP, especially the development of targeted agri-environment schemes, have also increased populations of certain scarce farmland birds like cirl buntings by a massive 130% from 1992 to 2003 and stone curlews by 87% from 1997 to 2005," said Mr Kendall.
Species recovery programmes in England have helped re-establish a range of species, including cirl buntings, the ladybird spider, red kite and dormice.
Birds, including cirl buntings and twites, will also benefit from the cash, as will wetland landscapes in various parts of the country and marine species in the Isle of Scilly, Natural England said.
"Cirl buntings, cornflowers, crayfish, orchards and a wide range of other habitats and species, including our marine environment, will benefit from this extra funding."
G Wardle may be interested to know that, in partnership with others, we are also developing reintroduction projects for corncrakes and cirl buntings (not birds of prey) and stinking hawksbeard (a rare plant).