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TITLE
Conserving the corncrake (7 of 7)
EXTERNAL ID
GB1796_SINCLAIR_CORNCRAKE_07
PERIOD
1980s
CREATOR
unknown
SOURCE
Inverness Museum and Art Gallery
ASSET ID
1880
KEYWORDS
ornithology
crofting
conservation
audio

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Once common throughout Britain, in 1993 the corncrake was on the brink of extinction in Scotland with a mere 470 calling birds. The R.S.P.B.'s Corncrake Initiative, set up in 1993, makes payments available to crofters and farmers with corncrakes on their land to manage their hay or silage fields sensitively for the birds. Ten years on, the scheme has proved to be successful with a 73% increase overall in the number of calling males recorded. Today, corncrakes are confined largely to the Hebrides, with small populations in Orkney and the extreme north and west of mainland Scotland.

This audio recording was made prior to the Corncrake Initiative being set up. In it, a R.S.P.B. representative talks about the threat from domestic animals.

Interviewer: Do you think there's any other reason for the decline of them in these parts? If we forget about agriculture, and think of perhaps, human pressure, domestic animals and things like this, could this be a little bit of a problem?

'Well, say in Ireland, of course, you know, we're not sure about the reasons. It appeared that there were decreases and disappearances in the population in areas where the land use hadn't changed. Now, whether this is strictly true or not is difficult to assess. One possible change is the change from organic, natural, fertilisers, manure and here seaweed, to artificial fertilisers, which might be one of the factors affecting the birds. And here too I've found that half of the dead adults that I get brought in are caught by domestic cats, and so - And also, having put some cage traps out in areas where the corncrakes were likely to appear, this was back in April, I found that half of the territories had cats crawling, prowling around in them. Now the other side of the thing is the rat is not a friend of the corncrake either and of course these cats do take quite a lot of rodents, so it's a delicate balance, but I think I would go in favour of wherever people can, to say, neuter their cats to stop them roaming around'

Interviewer: Well, we haven't perhaps heard a corncrake but we do hear a corn bunting at least in the distance.

'That's right, yes, and another bird that's declining in many places and still strong here, thank God'

Image Copyright - Sergey Yeliseev. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License.

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Conserving the corncrake (7 of 7)

1980s

ornithology; crofting; conservation; audio

Inverness Museum and Art Gallery

Bill Sinclair Audio: Conserving the Corncrake

Once common throughout Britain, in 1993 the corncrake was on the brink of extinction in Scotland with a mere 470 calling birds. The R.S.P.B.'s Corncrake Initiative, set up in 1993, makes payments available to crofters and farmers with corncrakes on their land to manage their hay or silage fields sensitively for the birds. Ten years on, the scheme has proved to be successful with a 73% increase overall in the number of calling males recorded. Today, corncrakes are confined largely to the Hebrides, with small populations in Orkney and the extreme north and west of mainland Scotland. <br /> <br /> This audio recording was made prior to the Corncrake Initiative being set up. In it, a R.S.P.B. representative talks about the threat from domestic animals.<br /> <br /> Interviewer: Do you think there's any other reason for the decline of them in these parts? If we forget about agriculture, and think of perhaps, human pressure, domestic animals and things like this, could this be a little bit of a problem?<br /> <br /> 'Well, say in Ireland, of course, you know, we're not sure about the reasons. It appeared that there were decreases and disappearances in the population in areas where the land use hadn't changed. Now, whether this is strictly true or not is difficult to assess. One possible change is the change from organic, natural, fertilisers, manure and here seaweed, to artificial fertilisers, which might be one of the factors affecting the birds. And here too I've found that half of the dead adults that I get brought in are caught by domestic cats, and so - And also, having put some cage traps out in areas where the corncrakes were likely to appear, this was back in April, I found that half of the territories had cats crawling, prowling around in them. Now the other side of the thing is the rat is not a friend of the corncrake either and of course these cats do take quite a lot of rodents, so it's a delicate balance, but I think I would go in favour of wherever people can, to say, neuter their cats to stop them roaming around'<br /> <br /> Interviewer: Well, we haven't perhaps heard a corncrake but we do hear a corn bunting at least in the distance.<br /> <br /> 'That's right, yes, and another bird that's declining in many places and still strong here, thank God'<br /> <br /> Image Copyright - Sergey Yeliseev. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License.