INCC is aiming to increase the fortunes of one of Wales’ rarest and most colourful farmland birds – the Yellowhammer (Emberiza citrinella). The project will see landowners and conservationists working together for Yellowhammers and other wildlife at a mixed farm in the Vale of Glamorgan.

To help Yellowhammers and other farmland wildlife at the farm, the project will plant 10,000 square metres of energy rich wild bird cover crop, spread over different areas of the farm. The sacrificial cover crop won’t be harvested alongside the main cereal crops at the farm. Thanks to support from the Welsh Ornithological Society (WOS), we have already raised £700 toward the project costs. We are now looking to raise a further £2,000.

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Yellowhammer Project


The cover crop will provide ideal conditions for ground nesting birds in spring and summer, and millions of energy rich seeds for farmland birds over winter. When flowering, the un-sprayed cover crop will provide habitat for several invertebrates, which in turn will provide food for chicks.

Species especially threatened by the loss of arable land are that of seed-dependent farmland birds, such as the once common Yellowhammer (Emberiza citrinella) and Grey Partridge (Perdix perdix), which have already disappeared from most of the Welsh countryside. The decrease in annual arable plants and wildflower rich crop margins has led to the loss of nesting sites, insect food for chicks and seeds to support them through the cold winter months.

In addition to the cover crop, 6-8m wide wildflower rich field margins will be created around all the arable fields at the farm. This will equate to several hectares of wildflower meadow which will provide even more habitat for farmland wildlife.

Unsprayed Arable margins. Clive Hurford
Arable wildflowers created by unsprayed cultivated margins. Pic Clive Hurford

Rhion Pritchard – Welsh Ornithological Society Trustee, said: “The Yellowhammer, once a familiar sight in Wales, is in trouble. Results from the BTO’s Breeding Bird Survey show that its numbers have declined by 79% in Wales since 1995, the second-greatest decline of any bird species. The Welsh Ornithological Society is therefore delighted to be able to support a project aimed at boosting Yellowhammer numbers in the Vale of Glamorgan. We’ve visited the farm in question and it’s obvious that it has tremendous potential. We’re confident that this project will make a real difference to Yellowhammers and other seed-eating species in this area and urge everyone to support this exciting INCC venture”.

Yellowhammer. Clive Hurford