RSPB Scotland Community Events Officer, Ally Lemon, describes how a new project in Fife is putting the links between food, farming and wildlife on the map.

Corn buntings sing their thanks to players of the Postcode Lottery after funding awarded to new community project

The fat birds of barley are singing their thanks to the players of the People’s Postcode Lottery as the Postcode Local Trust has awarded us funding to run a new ‘Corn Bunting in the Community’ project.

This project comes off the back of our successful partnerships with land owners in Fife, Angus and the North East of Scotland over the past few years which have helped prevent the corn bunting from disappearing in Scotland. You can read more about that here.

corn bunting perched on fencing
A corn bunting. Credit: Hywel Maggs

The new project will be focussed in the East Neuk area of Fife, one of the four remaining strongholds for the species. It will allow us to celebrate the commitment of farmers and landowners in Fife whose dedication to corn buntings means their numbers have increased by an amazing 60% over the past four years.

This success was down to them ensuring corn buntings have access to the Big Three:

  • Safe nesting sites late into the season.
  • Availability of insects to feed chicks during the breeding season.
  • Provision of seed food especially during the winter months.

The ‘Corn Bunting in the Community’ project will provide free ‘corn bunting’ seed mix to farmers and landowners to help them continue to provide corn buntings with all they need to thrive. It will also help us raise awareness of this conservation success story within local communities in Fife and visitors to this area of Scotland.

wildflowers and grass
An example of an area where seed mix is grown

This will include developing walking and cycling routes which will take in areas where people have a chance of spotting corn buntings as well as visit local farm shops and cafes. Finally, it will allow us to create a self-guided leaflet to ensure people can continue to enjoy the routes and learn about the plight corn buntings faced and their recovery for years to come.

We are excited to be getting out and talking to people about everything corn bunting. The seed mix has been distributed to the land owners and managers involved in the project and the corn buntings should be making good use of these areas just now.

We have led two farmland walks in the St Monans area already, where visitors got the chance to see how farming can work for both people and wildlife.

There are still plenty of opportunities to get involved with the project by attending one of our future walks just keep an eye on the events area of the RSPB website for full details. The next ones are on:

corn bunting event poster
Corn Buntings in the Community event poster

We are also looking for feedback and engagement from people about what it is they want the routes to look like and what information they would like to see included in the leaflet.

Get in touch with Ally Lemon (alasdair.lemon@rspb.org.uk) for more information on getting involved.

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