Farmers asked to boost familiar birds

SUFFOLK farmers are being urged to give their support to a RSPB project to rescue one of Britain's most charismatic farmland birds.Operation Lapwing aims to halt the decline in Lapwing populations and help their numbers recover across Suffolk.

SUFFOLK farmers are being urged to give their support to a RSPB project to rescue one of Britain's most charismatic farmland birds.

Operation Lapwing aims to halt the decline in Lapwing populations and help their numbers recover across Suffolk. Although still common as a wintering bird, a British Trust for Ornithology co-ordinated survey, undertaken in 1998, found the number of breeding pairs has more than halved in 11 years.

The survey estimated that there were 2,977 pairs of Lapwings in East Anglia in 1998, which represents a 54pc drop from the numbers recorded in 1987.

RSPB conservation officer Rob Lucking said: "Lapwings are a popular sight in the countryside and we hope farmers will adopt our simple plan to help them breed successfully. Lapwings need sparse vegetation, which is vital for nesting, plus a good supply of earthworms and insects for parent birds and their chicks."


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Lapwings are especially associated with East Anglian farmlands, and are often seen following ploughs during winter and spring.

They are commonly known as peewits because of their distinctive calls and are members of the plover family.

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The RSPB has launched an information pack for farmers detailing how to encourage nesting Lapwings this spring. It includes advice on the type of habitat suitable for the birds and how farming practises can be tailored to suit them.

To get an information pack, call the RSPB regional office on 01603 661662 or the 24-hour RSPB hotline on 01603 697527.

WEBLINK

www.rspb.org.uk

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