Ground-nesting  birds

Background

In the last 40 years the presence of many farmland birds has strongly decreased. Among them are the Skylark (Alauda arvensis), the Corn Bunting (Emberiza calandra) and the Grey Partridge (Perdix perdix). These species prefer open landscapes, and are therefore dependent on our agricultural landscape. Fertilisation, close-grained stocks or the frequent mowing of grasslands pose a threat to these birds.
The Skylark prefers to build its nest in useful forage grass. In spring, when plants have reached a certain height, it lays its eggs in small hollows. The nests of ground-nesting birds are extremely vulnerable to mechanical tillage and frequent mowing.
The absence of pesticides and spacious grain stocks in organic farming positively affects the presence of farmland birds. Yet, this is still not sufficient for us. We want to use specific measures to stabilise the number of common farmland birds on our grounds once more.

Our contribution

The “Koppelsberg” field in Buchholz is a popular breeding ground for Skylarks in Brodowin eco village. For our farm, the field is also an important site for cultivating feeding grains. In this area we intend to adjust our drill in such a manner that a 3 meter distance is established between grain seeds. These gaps are also called “drill windows” and are particularly popular sites for nesting.
We are, however, unable to harvest grain there. We refrain from “grooming the grain”, which is a form of tillage by which weeds are reduced mechanically instead of chemically. To optimise breeding conditions, we also avoid sowing clover grass which is an important nitrogen collector in organic farming.

On the “Kuhbad” field, we also adapt our cultivation to the skylarks’ breeding patterns. We postpone the date of mowing at the expense of crop quality. Land cultivation therefore no longer destroys their nests and the young birds can develop without intrusion.