Caravan Club and RSPB Celebrate Five Years of Song Thrush Conservation

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A five year partnership with The Caravan Club is helping the RSPB to carry out vital work to protect farmland birds.

The Caravan Club is better known for providing quality caravan sites and services for caravan owners across the UK and Ireland. However, a five year partnership is helping the RSPB to carry out vital work to protect farmland birds.

The Caravan Club’s role as Champion for the Song Thrush is part funding RSPB advisory work with farmers and landowners aimed at benefiting the Song Thrush and other declining birds across the countryside1.

Song Thrushes have been in long-term decline with numbers falling by around 50% between 1970 and 2007. The decline appears to be caused by a combination of lack of food and lack of nesting sites, both brought about by intensive farming methods. However, the latest report into the state of the UK’s birds found that the species has shown a welcome increase since the low of the mid 90s, up by around 25%.

The RSPB works directly with and provides conservation advice to more than 3,000 farmers and crofters every year to find ways to improve yields of farmland birds. The efforts made to manage farms in a way that will benefit wildlife has been a welcome contribution to the increase in population numbers, however there is still room for improvement if we are to see numbers of farmland birds return to their previous numbers.

The Caravan Club has not only provided financial support to the RSPB’s farmland work, but has also introduced a range of practical measures on its own caravan sites so they are more attractive to wildlife. By creating bird-feeding stations, wildlife margins and habitat piles, The Caravan Club is providing homes for wildlife that may not otherwise visit these places.

Chris Corrigan, Regional Director of the RSPB in the South East, said, “The Caravan Club’s support over the last five years has made a huge contribution to conserving this species. Both by helping the RSPB to carry out its farmland work and through its action on the ground and with its members.”

Emma Cosby of The Caravan Club, said, “We’ve got over 200 great caravan sites in fantastic locations for wildlife and we are committed to encouraging species diversity on them. We are delighted the partnership with the RSPB is making a positive contribution to protecting the Song Thrush.”

The Caravan Club’s 200-strong caravan sites network already provides some important havens for wildlife, with three of its locations actually containing Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) – River Breamish (Northumberland), Strid Wood (North Yorkshire) and Ferry Meadows (near Peterborough), and it’s one of the few organisations of its kind to have a Corporate Biodiversity Action Plan (CBAP) in place

RSPB research comparing a declining population on intensive farmland with a stable population on mixed farmland found two major differences. Thrushes on intensive arable farmland make only 2-3 nesting attempts per year, compared to 4-5 attempts for birds in a stable population. In addition to this, few fledglings on intensive farmland appear to survive their first few weeks after leaving the nest.

There are a number of farming measures likely to help song thrushes including sympathetic hedgerow management (with tall, thick hedges), planting new woodlands on farmland, and planting wild bird seed mixtures including leafy cover.

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