Swift action urged to save species of threatened birds - The Leamington Observer

Swift action urged to save species of threatened birds

Leamington Editorial 11th Mar, 2021   0

URGENT action has been taken by Warwick District Council to protect bird species at risk of dying out.

The authority says it is alarmed by the rapid decline of skylarks and meadow pipits locally and nationally.

It follows reports by conservationists that species which nest in low grass could be wiped out altogether due to the increased numbers of eggs being trampled or disturbed by dogs. This is a particular problem in parkland areas which have been heavily used by dog-walkers during the lockdowns.

It has led the council to take urgent measures to protect nesting birds on St Mary’s Lands by installing temporary barriers on a public area.

It comes after a wildlife evaluation of the lands in in 2019 showed a 25 per cent decrease in pairs of skylarks and a 40 per cent reduction in meadow pipits from the eight years previous.

Coun Liam Bartlett said: “The fantastic improvements made recently to the access of St Mary’s Lands has meant that it has rightly become extremely popular with local people, particularly during the pandemic, we want that to continue. However at the same time we have growing evidence that these wonderful birds are in danger. We therefore have to do what we reasonably can to safeguard these increasingly rare species.

“The measures being taken do not require the closure of any public footpaths, they are a proportionate response to create an area for birds like skylarks to nest undisturbed without impacting the enjoyment of the local community.”

The fencing and signage will be in place until the end of the nesting season.

But The Friends of St. Mary’s Lands want the fencing removed and say they made a number of alternative suggestions. The group has now launched its own survey about how to protect the birds.

A spokeswoman for the management committee said: “We are disappointed plastic fencing has been erected on a large area of the lands despite our five alternative suggestions for protecting ground nesting birds.

Users of this public space were not given the opportunity to comment on whether the fencing restrictions were appropriate, proportionate, or needed at all.

“The Friends strongly support conservation and the environment and want to see wildlife flourish as it has always been an important and much-loved part of Warwick Common but we would like to encourage the public, who want to walk and use the Common, to come on board to find better and more sustainable ways to achieve a common aim. We believe that their views matter.”

Visit www.friendsofstmaryslands.com to fill out the group’s survey or find out more.


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